Motor performance during and following acute alcohol intoxication in healthy non-alcoholic subjects

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 Nov;101(4):513-23. doi: 10.1007/s00421-007-0511-y. Epub 2007 Aug 24.


Chronic alcohol abuse has adverse effects on skeletal muscle, and reduced muscle strength is frequently seen in chronic alcoholics. In this study the acute effects of moderate alcohol intoxication on motor performance was evaluated in 19 non-alcoholic healthy subjects (10 women, 9 men). A randomised double-blinded placebo controlled design was applied to subjects receiving alcohol in juice and pure juice at two separate test periods. Isokinetic and isometric muscle strength and endurance were determined before, during, 24 and 48 h after the ingestion of alcohol in juice and juice (placebo). To detect a reduced activation of the central motor pathways superimposed external electrical stimulations during voluntary contractions were applied. Creatine kinase (CK) was measured to detect any alcohol-induced changes in sarcolemmal integrity. No change was seen in isokinetic as well as in isometric muscle performance during or following the alcohol intoxication as compared to the non-alcoholic condition. Also, no central activation failure was observed. No significant difference in CK increment was observed comparing the alcoholic- and non-alcoholic condition. In conclusion, a single episode of moderate alcohol intoxication (1,4 g/l) does not impair motor performance, and no accelerated exercise-induced muscle damage is seen.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Calcium / blood
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Efferent Pathways / drug effects
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Cells / drug effects
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle, Striated / cytology
  • Muscle, Striated / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Wrist / physiology


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Calcium