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Creatine & Alcohol - Do They Mix?

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Although there has been no official study into the effects of creatine and alcohol if we look at how creatine works and the effects of alcohol...

Creatine and alcoholThe question up for discussion today is "do creatine and alcohol mix?". I'm going to talk about the effects alcohol has on building muscle and what happens if you drink alcohol while using creatine. There have been no official studies into the effects of creatine and alcohol in the past. We have no scientific evidence that alcohol directly effects the body's use of creatine. However, if we look at the effects of alcohol and creatine on the body it's clear to see if the two mix.

How muscle grows

When you are lifting weights at the gym you are actually damaging and breaking down your muscles (it sounds much worse than it is!). Your muscles are pumped up at the gym because you are tearing small muscle fibers. The actual muscle growth occurs when you're resting via a process called protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the production of new muscle proteins. When you're building muscle you are aiming to rebuild more muscle than you damaged during your workout.

How creatine works

Creatine is naturally produced in the body in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Common sources of food that are naturally high in creatine are red meat and fish. Creatine aids in the process of ATP which is energy used for quick, explosive activities (pumping weights). The body only has a very limited supply of ATP, enough for only a few seconds of intense activity. Once the ATP level drops your muscles become fatigued. In theory, taking more creatine supplements allows for more creatine to be available to synthesize more ATP and therefore causes less fatigue in muscles and allows you to punch out those extra reps to get better results.

The effects of alcohol of muscle building

Alcohol has two very negative effects of muscle building. First, alcohol hinders the process of protein synthesis. As I mentioned in the first paragraph protein synthesis is the production of muscle proteins, literally speaking, muscle growth. Hindering the effects of muscle growth defeats the purpose of working out. Second, alcohol effects the anabolic properties of insulin and growth hormone. Both insulin and growth hormone are essential for inducing protein synthesis after physical exercise. (More information on bodybuilding supplements)

Creatine & Alcohol work against each other

On one side you're got creatine has been known to stimulate protein synthesis and on the other you've got alcohol that's hindering it. Obviously this effect in itself will limit, if not cancel out, and advantages you have by taking creatine.

Alcohol may cause muscle breakdown

Muscle breakdown can occur if you work your muscles too hard and your body does not have sufficient resources to repair them. This is expecially important to consider with alcohol and creatine. When you use creatine supplements you are allowing your muscles to work harder and break down more. If you then drink large amounts of alcohol you are hindering the muscle rebuilding process. If your body cannot repair as much muscle as it needs to you may experience increased recovery times and even a loss of muscle mass.

In conclusion...

Let's just recap on what I just talked about. Your muscles build via a process called protein synthesis. When you're in the gym you break down and damage your muscles. Creatine works by giving you more "explosive energy" allowing you to pump out those extra reps and train harder for longer. On the other had alcohol hinders the body's process of muscle building. Alcohol interferes with protein synthesis and the body's production and release of insulin and growth hormone. In extreme cases if you workout hard using creatine and drink alcohol your body may not be able to fully repair all the damaged muscle tissue resulting increased recovery times and negative muscle growth. As you can see creatine and alcohol really do not mix. The possible benefits of creatine will not be seen if used with alcohol. So if you're serious about building muscle and size if might be a good idea to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum especially after your workouts and before bed. If you do drink alcohol, always drink plenty of water while you're drinking and afterwards.

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    Average: 3.4 (22 votes)
  • About The Author
    Damien Mase is the owner and CEO of Muscle & Strength, LLC. The goal of Muscle & Strength is to provide people with the tools they need to build the body they want.
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Comments (47)

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forzanapoli
Posted Mon, 03/08/2010 - 13:21

so...is the article talking about people who get wasted all the time?like everyday?
and what kind of rules apply if you just get drunk once a week??(i need my drunken day off once a week)

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 03/08/2010 - 15:03

"creatine and alcohol really do not mix."

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brandt
Posted Mon, 03/22/2010 - 18:05

Would effect you that badly if you lift all week then drink on weekends

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 03/22/2010 - 18:55

Creatine is still in your system on the weekends.

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Lee
Posted Fri, 04/23/2010 - 11:30

Hi,
I am considering going back to the gym and want to tone down as well as build muscle. I want to try out creatine. Is it the best for this process? If not advice on best supplement.

I like my drink over the weekends as i intend to workout during the week.

Please advice if there's any side effects in drinking over weekends while using creatine.

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Steve
Posted Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:14

Keep in mind that recovery is taking place on the weekend. Rest is when the muscles grow and recover. So drinking during off days or rest days will work against the benefits of creatine use.

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Lee
Posted Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:21

Thanks for your comment. So this means a beer or two should be avoided? Also what is the best supplement to use? Toning and building mass? I want to ripp and have good muscles all over.

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Steve
Posted Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:40

I would minimize alcohol use as much as possible when using creatine. For that matter, I would try to keep it at a minimum when building muscle. Alcohol can work to suppress normal body hormone levels. Of course, the more you drink, the more dramatic this impact is.

The best supplements to assist you in building muscle and getting toned are a good multivitamin, whey protein, fish oil. Once you have your training and diet locked down, they are plenty of other quality supplements that can benefit you based on your needs. For example, if you work a tiring job...you can take a pre-workout supplement to help with energy during training. If you have a hard time sleeping, there are supplements that will help you get a restful sleep which helps promote growth.

I recommend the following 2 articles to get you started with supplement exploration:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/supplement-like-the-pros-part-...

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/supplement-like-the-pros-part-...

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Abaddon
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 04:43

I work out 4 or 5 nights each week, monday to friday.

For the last 2 weeks I have been taking creatine. The loading phase finished yesterday, and when I did my training y'day evening, I noticed a huge size increase in my bis and tris!

What you say about the period when muscle actually grows - wouldn't this be through the night while sleeping, and throughout the following day?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 08:54

Yes, you are correct. The muscle does not grow during the workout. It is damaged because of the workout, and is repaired and grows after the fact.

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James
Posted Fri, 08/20/2010 - 05:54

Spot on Steve. The microscopic tears created in the muscle by an overloading stimulus (weight) which induce the feeling of soreness are repaired during rest. This process of re-growth can be accelerated with a diet rich in lean sources of muscle-building protein (amino acids).

Re: Creatine, while increasing other physiological factors, basically forces water into the muscle which gives off an inflated appearance. Alternatively, I would advise a whey protein powder to supplement your diet.

Regards, James.
James2<a href="http://www.clickfitpro.com/how-to-get-a-fast-six-pack.php">_</a>1@hotmai...

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anto
Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 19:32

Alcohol and creatine do not mix!! apart from being detrimental to your working out, i once had been to the gym and had taken creatine, that night i went out and drank alcohol. After a few beers i was paraletic!! not good!! It also happened to a friend!

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donna
Posted Mon, 11/15/2010 - 14:26

i hardly drink, a cider on a saturday night perhaps. i run on the treadmill for 25 min twice a day (morning and night) at home. what i would like to know is how long does it take before one see's the effects of the creatine.i my weight lifting at our work gym during the course of the day. and i sometimes drink the whey protein. can i combine the whey protein and creatine and drink it during my workout? does creatine work best with grape juice?

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Steve
Posted Tue, 11/16/2010 - 14:36

Hi Donna,

You should notice creatine working withing several days. Th first sign will be muscle pumps. I wouldn't drink whey protein and creatine during your workout. Take 5 grams of creatine pre and post-workout, and whey protein post-workout with a banana, dextrose or waxy maize.

Creatine can be mixed with grape juice.

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jdawg
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 23:07

Ive taken creatine for over 5 years. Mostly mono and CEE. I also work downtown and have a very active social life. Not now, but when I was 22-5, I worked out like a hoss, took loads of creatine and ate and supplemented right. I got huge and ripped. I also usually got wasted every thursday, friday and saturday out with my friends. This had very limited detrimental effects on bodybuilding (besides the hangover) compared to when I have a girlfriend and dont go out anymore and still train the same. Obviously Im not condoning it, but alcohol only stays in your system a matter of hours. Dont go crazy, now your own limits, but Go have fun, look at girls and use that to get your swoll on the next day. you only live once.

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daonlypoo
Posted Fri, 01/13/2012 - 21:01

Thank you!! Jesus it seems like every lifter is a friggin priest here! The simple fact of the matter is drinking will never harm you in small amounts no matter what you're taking. And there's been plenty of university studies published showing the positive effects of hops on protein synthesis, and I haven't seen one university study here cited for the opinion that alcohol somehow harms muscle growth. I say everything in moderation. Some of the most built(and cut) guys I've ever known just work out hard, eat plenty of carbs and protein, supplement with creatine, and drink their asses off every weekend. Lifting doesn't mean you have to stop having fun guys....

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Dille
Posted Mon, 04/16/2012 - 15:24

Thanks man, most guys on these forums want you to live like a pro bodybuilder and for us normal people that dont want to be busy with it 24/7 and just want to stay in shape and stay healthy arent commited to a disciplined and routined lifestyle. Im just human like the 98% here. Your comment actually makes sense because i experienced the same even though i got doubtful with all the boogy man messages here. Do respect your body but as said: you only live once, no need to live without any fun.

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Angelica
Posted Fri, 02/25/2011 - 20:14

Can a person die as a result of mixing creatine and alcohol? Angelica

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David
Posted Wed, 03/02/2011 - 18:00

The additional risk is that you will become dehydrated more readily, drink plenty of water(though don't get carried away) and you'll be fine.

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burrows
Posted Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:41

i dont really drink that often,4 beers every couple of weeks or so,i dont get drunk so even than can mess up my creatine?

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Debi
Posted Thu, 05/05/2011 - 17:11

I am wondering wat the side effects are while taking creatine? drinking alcohol or not.

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fat tony
Posted Thu, 08/18/2011 - 23:36

DO NOT DRINK WHILE TAKING CREATINE! I took creatine at the beginning of last year for a few months. It was my 4th year in college and although i cut back to drinking once a week I knew what my body was capable of from the past 3 years of moderate partying.

I experienced blackouts almost every night drinking even if I only had 5 drinks. In my entire life prior I had only blacked out 1 time and that was from having 20+ drinks. I stopped drinking entirely because I was fearful of blacking out and hadn't linked the two together. I eventually started drinking again occasionally a few months later after I ran out of creatine, and havn't blacked out in the last 8 months drinking 3x as much at times.

The same thing happened to a friend of mine who was also taking creatine with me. In 2 months on creatine I blacked out 5-6 times, In my entire life I've blacked out one other time.

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zoe
Posted Tue, 08/30/2011 - 16:26

I work out at the gym 4x a week and take protein shakes after training, but ive noticed when i go out drinking only after a few drinks im drunk is this normal?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 15:10

Hi Zoe,

It's not related to protein shakes. You may be eating fewer calories and this could be the cause.

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zoe
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 16:18

Thank you for your feedback is it also something to do with not enough toxins in my body due to working out alot ?

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Steve
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 16:29

Hi Zoe,

No, lack of toxins wouldn't be the cause.

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zoe
Posted Fri, 09/02/2011 - 18:35

ok thanks again il have to stick to diet coke on a night out then. Thanks again.

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zoe
Posted Sat, 09/03/2011 - 07:53

Should i be taking some sort of supplement before i work out aswell as after training?

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jeff
Posted Wed, 10/12/2011 - 19:21

lets say i drink then night befor i workout is it safe to take Jacked or NO explode the day after?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 10/13/2011 - 15:16

Make sure you stay properly hydrated.

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Richy
Posted Thu, 01/05/2012 - 22:25

Im taking Protein, Creatine, Fish Oil and Multi Vitamins to enhance my Training? i get confuse of when would be the best time to take these supplements? Usually take protein during breakfast then after lunch i take multi vitamins and fish oils, then 20 minutes before workout i take Creatine with Grape Juice then 30 minutes after workout i take more Protein..? Is this the best way to take it??

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Rommel
Posted Sun, 01/08/2012 - 01:07

Damien/all,
can someone tell me if it is O.K. to have the multivitamins and Fish oil together?
does Fish oil and Multivitamins mixing not safe?

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jonah
Posted Sun, 01/08/2012 - 22:51

i have been working out for 3 years i have gained alot of size and weight, so im sure im doing it right. just have one question should i take my preworkout (creatine) on the days i do not work out?

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dill
Posted Fri, 08/03/2012 - 17:42

hey jonah,
if you take creatine on your off days only take a maintenance amount (5g), it will keep you muscles saturated

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paulk73
Posted Fri, 02/17/2012 - 13:43

when i was growing up, say between the ages of 15 and 18 i developed a massive alchol problem, that stayed with me til my early 30s. could this have had an effect on my being able to fill out? i could see all my mates filling out around this time, but my shape stayed the same. im now 38 and weigh 9 and a half stone. im 5 foot 7?

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josh
Posted Wed, 02/29/2012 - 02:39

IM THINKING OF TAKING DECACOR, A TYPE OF CREATINE. IF I USE CREATINE AND LIFT MON-FRIDAY IS IT OKAY FOR MY MUSCLES TO DRINK ON THE WEEKEND? IS IT OKAY TO DRINK WHEN I HAVNT USED CREATINE THAT DAY AND MY MUSCLES ARENT SORE?

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Ben
Posted Sat, 03/03/2012 - 07:19

I work out Sunday's, Monday's, wednesdays, thursdays and Friday's. I then binge drink on Saturday night will this affect my muscle recovery on the Sunday ? I heard a rumour that alcohol affects muscle recovery for 72 hours?
Also just about to start my loading thase but going out tonight so was gonna start it tomorrow after reading the affects of creatine and alcohol mixed.

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Josh
Posted Sun, 03/04/2012 - 09:58

Hi everyone,I've been lifting for about 18 months now with a break of 6 months inbetween.I train 5 days a week doing one body part a day.i lift heavy doing 4 sets and doing 6-8 reps each set.the problem is I only keep track if my weight and body fat.weight every week.body fat per month.I have an intake of 200g of protein a day and also two creatine tablets(ethyl ester) which I take two pre work out and two post work out.my point is I have a routine with my supplements but I'm not sure thoroughly what else to keep an eye on.

Help would be grateful.

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Eva
Posted Mon, 03/19/2012 - 13:15

Hi its so cool ,I really got what i need to know about muscles,thanks so muc

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Dietrich
Posted Sat, 07/14/2012 - 13:53

Just did loading phase with creatine twice. Drinking some Jack Daniel's and I blacked out. Vertigo hit me. But I'm not drunk. It passed but i felt the heaviness in my head. So I agree creatine and alcohol DO NOT mix at all. This all happened just now thats why I had to search about this. Thanks for the info. Not drinking now while on creatine.

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karl7777
Posted Sat, 08/25/2012 - 00:32

This article assumes you are already taking creatine and that adding alcohol would be a bad idea. But what if you are already drinking alcohol? Would adding creatine be a bad idea or a good idea?

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tootall4what
Posted Wed, 09/05/2012 - 23:15

Yea, I finished my loading phase too. Big surge in size of tissue. I put it in my surge workout fuel and surge recovery. About a gram in each, since I'm done loading. I drink in excess on the weekends and pay dearly. Don't do it, by Tuesday when your thinking about upping the weight on your next lift, you will appreciate this!

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Tony
Posted Sun, 12/09/2012 - 07:35

can taking preworkout drink have long detrimental affect in the long term.

I only been taking it for 5-6 months, one month drinking it, one month off it.

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John
Posted Thu, 05/23/2013 - 21:17

Last weekend i mixed my friend nitric oxide and some creatine i just got with a glass of scotch, best night of my life.

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Jef
Posted Wed, 06/12/2013 - 13:45

I was wondering, there are some studies that confirm that creatine increases slightly in the testosterone level and ofcourse creatine takes lots of water in the cell. Since alcohol diminishes the water in cells and the testosterone level, could they make a 'zero operation'? Like no good effects of creatine but also less/none side effects of alcohol? Especially if you only drink in the weekends.
Thanks

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Posted Wed, 08/07/2013 - 02:56

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radu
Posted Mon, 06/23/2014 - 16:14

Hello
it's a problem if i drink a beer (just one) about an hour after i finish my workout.
i take on whey gold with kre alkalin creatine.
Thanks

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