Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Muscle Soreness and Inflammation During Recovery From Strenuous Exercise

Chao Yen Chen, Te Hung Tsao


Although parties or get-togethers with alcoholic beverages after sporting competitions are popular, studies on the effects of alcohol ingestion after strenuous exercise on muscle damage and inflammation in non-drinkers’ are few and ambiguous. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of alcohol ingestion during recovery from an acute bout of exercise on muscle soreness and inflammatory markers in regular exercisers who do not regularly consume alcohol. Male participants (n = 15) completed two bouts of exercise on a rowing ergometer for 2000 m in a randomized fashion. All participants ingested 5 mL of alcoholic (AL) or placebo (PL) beverage per kg of body weight within 10 min post-exercise. Blood samples for blood alcohol, creatine kinase (CK), C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin (IL)-6 concentrations were collected pre-exercise (T0), and at 1 (T1), 3 (T2), and 24 h (T3) post-ingestion. Self-reported muscle soreness was assessed at the same time points. Lactate levels were measured before exercise and within 1 h post-exercise. Muscle soreness was significantly lower in the AL than the PL trials at T3 (p < 0.05). Although CK, IL-6 and CRP levels were significantly higher during recovery than before exercising, there was no significant difference between the AL and PL trials. In addition, no significant difference in lactate concentrations between the two trials was evident in the 1 h after exercise. For regular exercisers, the alcoholic beverage ingested did not increase CK, IL-6, or CRP compared to their placebo trial, despite attenuated muscle soreness. Comparisons between drinkers and non-drinkers of high fitness ingesting permissible alcohol doses should be performed in the future.  

Keywords: alcohol, inflammation, strenuous exercise, muscle damage

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International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

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