- A study found that both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer increased the diversity of men’s gut bacteria.
- The study found that drinking one beer with dinner can increase gut diversity without adding weight.
- Less diverse gut bacteria are found in people with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
A small study showed that drinking beer daily can improve the diversity of men’s gut bacteria, even if it’s nonalcoholic.
To understand the effect of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer on the diversity of gut bacteria, researchers from Nova Lisbon University, Portugal, asked 19 healthy adult men to drink 11 ounces (325 ml) of alcoholic or nonalcoholic beer with dinner every day for four weeks. Alcoholic beer contains 5.2% alcohol by volume, which is considered strong.
The men in the study were 35 years old, on average. They drank the same amount of alcohol on average before the study began, and were considered moderate drinkers.
The study authors chose alcoholic and nonalcoholic beers that were as similar as possible, the main difference being the alcohol content. The men did not know what kind of beer they were drinking and were asked not to change their eating or exercise habits during the experiment.
Blood and stool samples were collected and gut microbiota analyzed before and after the experiment.
The results were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The men had more diverse gut bacteria after drinking beer with dinner for four weeks
The researchers found not only a more diverse set of microbes in the men’s guts at the end of the study, but also no change in weight or body mass index, and no new signs in the blood of heart or metabolic problems.
The men also had higher levels of fecal alkaline phosphatase, an indicator of better gut health, according to the authors.
More research involving more participants is needed to support their findings, the researchers said, and their study did not assess the effect of non-alcoholic beer on the diversity of gut bacteria in people who don’t usually drink alcohol.
The study isn’t the first to link beer consumption to an increased gut bacteria diversity, but previous research has only found benefits from non-alcoholic beer.
The polyphenols in beer and microorganisms from the fermentation process are believed to be beneficial for the intestines.
A diverse gut isn’t necessarily healthy though, but it does increase the likelihood of having “good” microbes, according to Dr. Vincent P. Young, a professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology who was not involved in the study, told Healthline.
Dr. Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center, California, who was also not involved in the research, told Healthline that a decreased number and diversity of gut bacteria is linked to many conditions.
“So diversity in general is usually a good sign, but I don’t read more than that into it,” he said.
Low diversity of gut bacteria has been observed in people with heart disease and diabetes
Adam Barnes of Insider previously reported that the gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms important for digestion and overall health.
Low levels of gut bacteria diversity have been found in people with a range of conditions, including
When the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the microbiome is imbalanced, it can lead to diarrhea, constipation, gas, and stomach pain, among other things. Alcohol can play a role in throwing off this balance.
Foods and drinks that promote gut health include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, miso, kombucha, and pickled vegetables.
Fermented foods can lead to bloating and gas, so it is recommended that you increase your portions gradually.