Is it safe to combine alcohol and creatine?

In general, the combination of alcohol and creatine may not be innately harmful, but it is generally not recommended. Creatine is a nutritional supplement often used by athletes and bodybuilders; It is also produced naturally by the human body, and can be used as a short-term energy source. In powder form, creatine is often mixed with water or juice when taken as a sports aid. While small amounts of alcoholic beverages can be consumed in conjunction with creatine, the use of alcohol and creatine may negate the muscle-building benefits of this supplement.

The scientific name for creatine is "methylguanido-acetic acid". It is made up of several different amino acids that are interconnected and all play an important role in replenishing energy stores that are used during intense muscle contraction. People can naturally increase their creatine levels through the consumption of foods such as fish and red meat. By consistently taking creatine in supplement form, people can load or "saturate" their muscles with key amino acids that are useful for intense physical activity.

Most supplements come in condensed form and must be combined with a drink. Creatine is most effective when mixed with carbohydrates, such as those found in a high-sugar beverage. High levels of carbohydrates cause the body's insulin levels to rise, which increases the uptake of amino acids into muscle cells. Some powdered supplements come premixed with carbohydrates and creatine to take advantage of this nutritional fact. Substances such as dextrose or simple sugar can also be consumed at the same time as creatine to maximize its effectiveness.

Despite the presence of carbohydrates in alcohol, beverages such as wine and beer are generally not recommended in conjunction with creatine. Research indicates that the combination of alcohol and creatine will not immediately cause ill effects, but it can impair athletic performance. Several scientific studies show that alcohol lowers the level of testosterone within the body. Low testosterone levels mean less muscle can be maintained. Additionally, alcohol often has a negative effect on motivation and response time, and can significantly impair athletic performance.

Hydration is very important for proper muscle function. When the body is dehydrated, creatine cannot be properly converted into energy. Alcoholic beverages are natural diuretics. This means that the beer or liquor will draw water away from the muscles and cause the body to excrete a large amount of fluid in the urine. The frequent combination of alcohol and creatine can lead to muscle cramps, stomach upset, and other symptoms of dehydration.

Go up