Alcohol, athletic performance and recovery

Nutrients. 2010 Aug;2(8):781-9. doi: 10.3390/nu2080781. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


Alcohol consumption within elite sport has been continually reported both anecdotally within the media and quantitatively in the literature. The detrimental effects of alcohol on human physiology have been well documented, adversely influencing neural function, metabolism, cardiovascular physiology, thermoregulation and skeletal muscle myopathy. Remarkably, the downstream effects of alcohol consumption on exercise performance and recovery, has received less attention and as such is not well understood. The focus of this review is to identify the acute effects of alcohol on exercise performance and give a brief insight into explanatory factors.

Keywords: glycogen; protein synthesis; skeletal muscle; ethanol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Dehydration / chemically induced
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol