Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements by bodybuilders and weightlifters. It not only helps increase muscle mass but also improve performance and reduce fatigue during high-intensity exercise.
But, what happens if we combine it with alcohol? To answer that, let's take a look at this popular supplement and its interaction with alcohol and other substances.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a natural chemical compound in the body. It is found mainly in muscle cells. Contributes to the generation of energy for muscle contraction and contributes to muscle growth and recovery. That is why it is used in supplement form to increase muscle mass and improve training performance.
Creatine has been extensively studied and is safe when taken correctly. With proper use, it can be a great way to take your training to the next level.
The alcohol problem
You've probably heard that alcohol is not recommended if you're looking to improve your body composition. But why? What is the problem with alcohol?
We can list several in general, and then others specific to creatine:
- Alcohol alters fat metabolism, making it difficult to lose abdominal fat (1).
- Alcohol hampers the creation of protein, including muscle fibers (2).
- Alcohol interferes with growth hormone and testosterone signaling, both of which are important for gaining muscle mass (3).
- Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and lowers energy levels (4).
- Alcohol interferes with muscle response, causing problems with coordination, balance, and muscle response during exercise (4).
In conclusion, if we are interested in getting a more toned body, it is important to understand that alcohol can interfere with our goals and cause interactions with the supplements we take. Is that the case with creatine?
Interactions between creatine and alcohol
The interactions between creatine and alcohol are complex and not fully understood. There are currently no studies specifically evaluating this interaction, but those that do seem to indicate that it is not a good idea to combine creatine and alcohol.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that alcohol causes liver problems, especially in individuals with alcoholism. According to studies in animal models, the damaging effects of alcohol on the liver may be even worse if we use creatine (5). It remains to be verified whether these findings can be extrapolated to humans and their metabolism, but in this area there is still no definitive answer.
In any case, it is a very bad idea to combine creatine with alcohol. If your goal is to increase muscle mass and improve performance, alcohol will have the opposite effect and ruin any gains you may be making with supplementation. Additionally, the risk of hepatic steatosis and liver damage will increase as a result of the interaction.
- Sayon-Orea, C., Martinez-Gonzalez, MA, & Bes-Rastrollo, M. (2011). Alcohol consumption and body weight: a systematic review. Nutrition reviews , 69 (8), 419-431.
- Vary, TC, & Lang, CH (2008). Assessing effects of alcohol consumption on protein synthesis in striated muscles. Alcohol: Methods and Protocols , 343-355.
- Eagon, PK, & Lechner, PS (1995). Effect of alcohol on growth hormone-related liver function and sex hormone homeostasis. Alcohol and Hormones , 325-336.
- Vella, L.D., & Cameron-Smith, D. (2010). Alcohol, athletic performance and recovery. Nutrients , 2 (8), 781-789.
- Marinello, PC, Cella, PS, Testa, MT, Guirro, PB, da Silva Brito, WA, Padilha, CS, ... & Deminice, R. (2022). Creatine supplementation protects against diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver but exacerbates alcoholic fatty liver. Life sciences , 310 , 121064.