Background: Alcohol is a substance that is consumed widely around the world. There are different interpretations regarding the effects of alcohol on athletic performance. Today, alcohol is introduced as a contributing factor for increasing athletic performance by some sport clubs.
Methods: The purpose of this article is to investigate the effects of alcohol on athletic performance. PubMed, Scopus, Medline, and textbooks were reviewed.
Results: The effect of alcohol is different according to the dose, individual habits and duration of exercise. The main mechanisms of the effect of alcohol on athletic performance are: Inadequate synthesis of hepatic glucose and impaired hepatic gluconeogenesis, even at low dose; alcohol can cause hypoglycemia and impair performance in prolonged exercise. Impaired regulation of body temperature during exercise is also an effect of alcohol. The vasodilator effect of alcohol cause a drop in core body temperature and impair athletic performance. Alcohol causes dehydration due to its diuretic effect. So, alcohol is not a good choice for rehydration after an exercise. Impairment of glycogen re-synthesis after exercise is due to alcohol interaction with glycogen synthesis in the liver. Psychological effects of alcohol impair reaction time, fine motor control, decision making, judgment and balance.
Conclusion: The result of this review does not show a positive effect of alcohol on athletic performance.