Things get complicated when you want to stay healthy and fit but keep up with partying at night. If you have planned a creatine regimen for bigger muscles, you might be asked to keep within the discipline in your regular lives. That would also include avoiding alcohol.
But are you ready to give up alcohol for stamina? Or do you want creatine and alcohol together?
It’s best to avoid excessive alcohol consumption to maximize the benefits of creatine. Alcohol negatively impacts the body’s ability to generate and store creatine and may cause severe dehydration as diuretics. The impact may decrease creatine’s performance-enhancing effects and make your hangover worse.
Check out more on creatine and alcohol to see how they cause health issues and what to do about alcohol when you are on creatine for months.
Creatine and Alcohol
Taking creatine and alcohol isn’t deadly per se; you can easily survive the combo. But, this would lead you to compromise a lot you don’t want to lose, like lean muscle mass and perfect health.
Moderate to heavy regular consumption of alcohol already messes up the system, especially the liver, and kidneys. Besides, it leaves you tired, dehydrated, and hypertensive.
When you have both creatine and alcohol in your blood, it will hinder hippocampal creatine metabolism and protein synthesis. Muscle cell growth slows down, so while you might push yourself to exercise heavily, you won’t see any results.
Besides, alcohol also intensifies the common adverse reactions of creatine in the early phase, like cramps, water loss, stomach problems, etc. All these problems mean that while these two are no doubt safe for your body, having them together is not desirable.
Let’s find out some proven effects caused by mixing alcohol and creatine that may cause long-term problems with your body.
Lowered Muscle Movement
When you have alcohol in your blood, it will decrease the rate at which the muscles receive calcium. So, muscle contraction slows down noticeably, impacting overall muscle growth, coordination, and movement even when you are sober.
Reduction in Nutrient Absorption
Alcohol also messes up your digestive system. You don’t get enough nourishment from protein and amino acids. The body also loses the ability to metabolize minerals like zinc, which is essential for cognitive and sexual functions. This means creatine’s effectiveness lowers, which in turn reduces energy.
Your muscles also become prone to injuries with slower recovery. They will then start to break down, and the increase in mass you gain from creatine will slowly disappear.
Interferes with Stamina and Exercises
Since you don’t have enough energy to exercise, you lose your strength soon. The muscle cells also slow down, taking more time to recover. So, the effectiveness of creatine reduces vastly where it is absorbed and excreted already with no increase in muscles.
Besides, alcohol highly affects post-workout functions in your body, demotivating you to heavy workout sessions.
Less Water in the System
As diuretics, creatine needs a lot of water and alcohol, even more. Alcohol pulls out more water, leaving none for creatine. So, when exercising, creatine removes water from the cells, making you dehydrated and leading to muscle cramps and abdominal pain.
Damages to Organs
As you have a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood, the organs like the liver and kidneys suffer severe damage in the long run. These organs also make and store creatine, so if they are wasted by alcohol, creatine production and usage will decrease.
Whenever we think of alcohol, we remember being hungover. This happens when you are dehydrated from all the booze.
Now with creatine in your system, the hangover will be more intense and excruciating than ever. Creatine also pulls away water from your body, leaving you half-dehydrated. So, you will have severe headaches from post-alcohol ingestion.
You can’t think of moving when you are that hungover and panting with a headache. So, your body goes to waste with no heavy exercises required with creatine. Being athletic won’t help, either.
Studies show that your capacity will decline by 11 percent or more even if you drink moderately.
How Long After Can You Consume Alcohol Following Creatine?
Experts advise keeping a significant gap between alcohol and creatine to avoid the issues above. So, taking creatine in the morning or day is recommended, and then spending the evening with a drink or two.
Try to keep the gap at least 4 hours. However, keeping it within 10 to 12 hours is the best. Even then, you should limit consumption to at least once or twice a week. For men, it can be two drinks simultaneously, and women can have one to stay safe.
Besides, avoid drinking after a heavy workout or training. At this time, your muscle cells are at their peaks to grow and repair, and alcohol will ruin the process. Apart from alcohol, limit drinking other beverages like coffee or acidic juices when you are on creatine.
Tip to Drink Alcohol while on Creatine
Learn how to enjoy a little booze when trying a fitness training program with creatine.
- Drink occasionally and in moderation.
- Never drink after a workout; wait for at least a few hours after creatine and workout.
- After taking creatine for enough hydration, drink a lot of water, at least 4 liters the whole day.
- Avoid oily and processed foods, and use a lot of protein, good carbs, and fats in the diet, like beef or BBQ chicken.
- Try to take creatine at any dose prescribed in the morning. However, taking creatine before bed won’t cause any harm unless you are looking for muscle gain.
Benefits of Alcohol
When you are down to one or two glasses of wine a week, you might find some exciting benefits to your health from alcohol, even with creatine.
- Decrease in harmful fatty acids
- Regulation of blood sugar levels
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Flushes out excess water that would become toxic
- Helps to remove harmful toxins from the body
Other Liquids to Mix with Creatine
Instead of using alcohol to make a creatine mix, try milk, juice, or simply water. They are safer and also make creatine taste better.
Some health professionals recommend avoiding orange juice with creatine due to the citrusy flavor, along with coffee, tea, and other caffeine-based items. However, unless you have GERD, citrussy juices do not typically make any adverse impact while mixed with creatine.
The Bottom Line
Creatine and alcohol aren’t compatible and are better left out. As you plan on getting bigger muscles or staying fit with exercises. Not only does this involve reducing or removing alcohol consumption, but also unhealthy foods.
You don’t want your hard work of intense training regularly and chugging gallons of water with high doses of creatine to go to waste.
Besides, nobody wants to have their liver and kidneys damaged. Alcohol will have a long-term effect on these organs, and you might need to live with dialysis and medications all your life.
But the good news is, occasional drinks a month or even a week won’t cause any harmful impact, depending on your health condition. So, maintain your consumption and diet, drink lots of water, and you are ready.
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I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.