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Alcohol Impairs muscle growth
Several studies show the adverse effects of alcohol on muscle growth. Alcohol, consumed either occasionally or frequently, decreases protein synthesis and affects Type II muscle fibres (the kind that grow best) more than Type I (the kind long distance runners depend on). Excessive use of alcohol or binge drinking can result in decreased levels of testosterone and increased levels of cortisol (the muscle wasting hormone), a direct effect on muscle cells that can result in significant muscle wasting, especially if protein intake is not high. A study showed the effects of short-term alcohol intake on protein synthesis in the whole body and in other tissues of laboratory animals.
The study found alcohol decreased whole-body protein synthesis by 41 percent. Other earlier studies also show alcohol has a direct inhibitory effect on protein synthesis. Further studies found both the indirect and direct effects of alcohol on protein synthesis and, with frequent use, muscle wasting. Another study looked at the effects of ethanol on skeletal muscle protein synthesis and protease (enzyme) activities in laboratory animals. In this study, after only 24 hours, the alcohol-fed animals, compared with controls, had signifi cant reductions in total protein, RNA, and DNA contents in all skeletal muscles studied; changes were more significant in the muscles containing large proportions of Type II fibres. The results of this study suggest the muscle wasting seen with alcohol toxicity are predominantly associated with impaired protein synthesis (i.e., growth).
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