Beer After Exercise: Yes or No?
Professor Manuel J. Castillo
School of Medicine University of Granada, Spain
Beer quenches thirst and is frequently consumed after practicing sport or exercise. Beer is mainly water but also contains alcohol. Does this alcohol content prevent adequate recovery and/or rehydration? To clarify this, sixteen healthy young male volunteers, moderate consumers of beer, performed, at 35ºC, two exhausting and dehydrating exercise bouts (60 min running in a treadmill) three weeks apart. After exercise, the subjects rehydrate for 2h, in one occasion only with water and, in the other, first with beer (660 ml) followed by water. Immediately before and after exercise, and after rehydration, a number of variables that could be influenced by exercise, hydration or alcohol were measured. These variables include: body composition, extended blood and urine analysis, plasma volume, markers of muscle damage and inflammation, immunologic parameters, and psychokinetic assessment (including measurements of coordination, attention, stimuli discrimination, perception-reaction time, and visual field). In none of these parameters we found neither a specific nor a negative effect that could be attributed to the intake of beer compared to the intake of just water. In conclusion, at least in healthy, young adults, beer in moderate amounts is as effective as water for rehydration and recovery after exercise.