cheers! Beer can help men’s gut microbiome, reduce disease risk

According to a new study, men can increase the diversity of their gut microbes by drinking beer daily or non-alcoholic.

Several studies have demonstrated health benefits from moderate (or perhaps not) alcohol consumption, especially wine. For example, drinking wine with meals is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and wine consumption has been shown to improve blood pressure levels. But what about other alcoholic beverages, such as beer?

Beer is a popular drink, especially with men, and it is also one of the oldest drinks invented by mankind. In fact, there is evidence of beer drinking in China 5,000 years ago. Lager is beer that is fermented, fermented, and conditioned at low temperatures. Some consider beer the best beer for heart health, while others say that dark beer is healthier due to the higher levels of antioxidants.

Like wine, beer can have health benefits when consumed in moderation. Non-alcoholic beer has become very popular lately, but are these drinks healthy, too? In an experimental study, researchers at the American Chemical Society Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry Compared with the microbiome tested before the experiment, the men who drank beer daily with either alcoholic or nonalcoholic beer had a more diverse set of gut microbes, which can reduce the risk of certain diseases, the report said.

Trillions of microorganisms line the human digestive system, directly affecting the well-being of their host. Studies have shown that when there are more types of bacteria, people are less likely to develop chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Beer contains compounds, such as polyphenols, as well as microorganisms from its fermentation, which can affect a variety of microbes in the human gut.

A previously published “crossover” study showed that when both men and women drank non-alcoholic beer for 30 days, their gut microbiome diversity increased. Many of these people were also in the placebo group who drank an alcoholic version of beer, which did not have the same effect. Few other clinical trials have tested this problem, so Anna Varia and her colleagues wanted to see if they would find similar results with men in a different type of study — designing a parallel randomized trial — with two separate groups of participants.

In this double-blind study, 19 healthy men were randomly divided into two groups who drank 11 fluid ounces of alcoholic or nonalcoholic beer with dinner for 4 weeks. The researchers found that participants’ weight, body mass index, and serum markers of heart and metabolic health did not change during the study. But at the end of the four-week period, both groups had greater bacterial diversity in the gut microbiome and higher levels of fecal alkaline phosphatase, indicating an improvement in gut health. The researchers suggest that these results may differ from those of the previous study due to the different designs of the experiments, and because the participants lived in different communities.

However, based on this pilot study, the researchers say that drinking one bottle of beer, regardless of its alcohol content, may be beneficial for the gut microbiome and gut health of men. However, they add that since the safest level of alcohol consumption is nil, non-alcoholic beer may be the healthiest option.

Reference: “The effect of beer and non-alcoholic beer consumption on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial” June 16, 2022, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
DOI: 10.1021 / acs.jafc.2c00587

The authors acknowledge funding from the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization – COMPETE2020, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), the Center for Health Research, Technology and Services (CINTESIS), and the Center for Comprehensive Health Research (CHRC).

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