Can Alcohol Cause Muscle Inflammation? Here’s What You Need To Know

Apr 1, 2022


While there’s nothing inherently wrong with indulging in a glass of wine or catching up over drinks with friends, doing so while training can take a greater toll on your body than you may think. Does alcohol really affect your sleep? Can alcohol be one of the factors causing muscle fatigue and inflammation? The short answer is yes. While the conversation surrounding this is nuanced, see below as we discuss the connection between alcohol consumption and muscle inflammation.

Alcohol And Sleep Disruption:
I think something that we can all agree on is that sleep is vital. It allows us to recover from the mental and physical exhaustion that occurs in our daily activities. According to a 2015 study that focuses on the effects of alcohol and sleep quality, sleep is a time when your body regenerates, which helps with memory, muscular development, and energy. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends that adults aged 18-60 years sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and wellbeing . Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

It’s often thought that the presence of alcohol can help us fall asleep faster, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. After drinking, our livers are working incredibly hard at metabolizing the alcohol in our systems. This disrupts REM and deep sleep, which is paramount for recovery and restoration. Not only that, but heavy drinking can also contribute to an impaired gut and a liver that doesn’t function properly.

Alcohol And Muscle Inflammation:
Aside from the not-so-great sleep, you may also begin to notice that your body is tight, swollen, and tender. You may even notice that you’re experiencing more pain than usual, all of which are signs of inflammation. While the effects of alcohol on athletic performance vary depending on quantity, type of exercise, and demographics, it can be challenging to give specific recommendations. However, from an athletic standpoint, the acute use of alcohol can directly influence decreased motor skills, impaired balance, hydration, aerobic performance, as well as various facets of the recovery process. Not only can this curb performance, but it also puts you at a higher risk for injury if you aren’t mentally and physically as sharp while you train.

Furthermore, your aerobic performance (like running, brisk walking, and cycling) may be disrupted due to a lactate metabolism, which is essentially your body removing lactate, a byproduct of exercise, from the bloodstream and using it as fuel. Acute alcohol consumption can negatively affect this process which means there will be an increase of lactate in your body, thus resulting in fatigue and decreased power in muscle performance.

When you consistently train with elevated levels of inflammation, it’s common to experience increased fatigue, tightness in muscles, and an overall decrease in performance. Instead of pushing through these symptoms, listen to your body. If you’re consistently feeling this way, it’s time to reassess the situation and ensure you’re getting enough sleep (7-9 hours), are hydrated, and are recovering efficiently enough.

Ways To Prevent And Reduce Inflammation:
While it’s impossible to avoid all inflammation triggers, it’s important to know where they come from and how they show up in your life. If you enjoy drinking here and there but also want to perform optimally, drinking less or not at all may be the answer depending on your goals. If you are planning on indulging, stay hydrated by drinking water in addition to your alcoholic beverage. If possible, try and plan for a few hours between your last drink and when you go to bed as it typically takes an hour for your body to metabolize a single serving of alcohol (think 1 oz of 100 proof liquor, 12 oz of beer, or 4 oz of wine). Quality sleep ensures that human growth hormone will be released, which promotes healing, recovery, and the repair of tissues. Other simple ways of combating inflammation are through the elimination of eating saturated fats that come from animals, shying away from added sugars and ultra-processed foods. Using recovery tools, getting massages, and using a foam roller may be helpful as they aid in improved circulation, blood flow, and calm the central nervous system down.

The Takeaway:
Being mindful of your alcohol and other pro-inflammatory foods can lead to less inflammation and greater performance. So, if you have an important training session or are getting ready for an athletic event, you may want to take note.

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– アルコールは筋肉の炎症を引き起こす?

グラスワインを楽しんだり、友達と飲みに行ったりすることには本質的に問題はありませんが、トレーニング中に飲酒することは、想像以上に体に大きな負担をかける可能性があります。 アルコールはあなたの睡眠に影響を与えますか? アルコールは、筋肉の倦怠感や炎症を引き起こす要因になる可能性がありますか?答えはイエスです。飲酒を取り巻く会話には微妙な違いがありますが、アルコール摂取と筋肉の炎症との関係について以下をご参照ください。

私たち全員が同意できることは、睡眠が不可欠であるということ。睡眠は日常の活動で起こる精神的および肉体的疲労からの回復を可能にします。アルコールと睡眠の質に焦点を当てた2015年の研究によると、睡眠はあなたの体、記憶、筋肉の発達、そしてエネルギーが再生する時間です。アメリカ睡眠医学会および睡眠研究会は、最適な健康と幸福を促進するために、18〜60歳の成人が毎晩少なくとも7時間眠ることを推奨しています。 1日7時間未満の睡眠は、肥満、糖尿病、高血圧、心臓病、脳卒中、頻繁な精神的苦痛など、慢性疾患を発症するリスクの増加と関連しています。