Beer could be GOOD for you: Scientists find drinking could boost gut health | Daily Mail Online

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Beer could be GOOD for you: Scientists find drinking could boost gut health

Drinking beer could be good for your gut health and your immune system, scientists suggest. 

Researchers found that drinking pints in moderation could be better for some aspects of your health than abstaining all together. 

It’s thought drinking beer boosts the body’s immune system because of a collection of healthy bacteria that benefits the gut. 

It is thought that drinking beer boosts the body’s immune system because several ingredients induce the growth of bacteria that benefits the gut. 

The study, by the Dalian Medical University in China, claims polyphenols, fibre and ethanol in beer are the key ingredients to supercharging your immune system. 

Beer was suggested to be more beneficial to the gut than probiotics found in yoghurt and cheese

It was found to be more effective than probiotics when drunk in moderation.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which have supposed health benefits.

These microorganisms are thought to help restore the natural balance in your gut when it has been disrupted by an illness and fight off any remaining bad bacteria, according to the NHS.  

They are found in the likes of trendy kimchi and kombucha, but it’s also found in cheese and yoghurt.

‘As a long-established fermented beverage, beer is rich in many essential amino acids, vitamins, trace elements, and bioactive substances that are involved in the regulation of many human physiological functions,’ the authors wrote.

So, how much is TOO much? 

NHS recommendations state adults shouldn’t drink more than 14 units each week — that’s 14 single shots of spirit or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine.

They should also spread their drinking over three or more days to avoid bingeing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises Americans do not drink more than 14 standard alcohol drinks per week for men and seven for women.

A standard alcoholic drink includes 12oz of 5 per cent beer, 8oz of 7 per cent malt liqour, 5oz of 12 per cent wine or 1.5oz of spirits including rum, gin, vodka or whiskey.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years is already linked to a plethora of health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke risk, and range of cancers.

The scientists add: ‘The polyphenols in the malt and hops of beer are also important active compounds that interact in both directions with the gut microbiome.

‘Due to the conversion of beer substrates, the formation of bioactive end products, and the presence of microorganisms, some of its components exert “similar” or even greater effects than probiotics.’

It made the case for ‘beer bioactives’ to be used later down the line for health benefits.

They even claimed future products – labelled health beers – may prevent diseases later down the line such as arteriosclerosis and heart disease and improve blood circulation.

The review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, sates: ‘Combining these results of studies in humans and animals, there is a consensus that moderate beer consumption has a beneficial effect on the immune system compared to states of alcohol abuse or abstinence.

‘When alcohol consumption is controlled within safe limits, the combined effects of alcohol and other component metabolism on the intestinal flora deserve a more comprehensive analysis.’

However, they warned the benefits of drinking beer on the gut only applied to moderate drinkers. 

The review claims: ‘The risk of death is lower in light and moderate drinkers and increased in heavy drinkers.’

Prof Naveed Sattar, professor of cardiovascular and metabolic health at the University of Glasgow, says the review ‘misses the bigger picture’.

‘It is true some of the ingredient’s beer contains may have positive impacts on health but they are easily overcome by the alcohol itself,’ he told the Telegraph.

Drinking alcohol in excess has been found to increase the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease and several types of cancer, according to the NHS. 

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised by the NHS not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. 

One screening tool used widely by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the 10-question test is considered to be the gold standard in helping to determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.

The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.

To complete it, answer each question and note down the corresponding score.


0-7: You are within the sensible drinking range and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.

Over 8: Indicate harmful or hazardous drinking.

8-15: Medium level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).

16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.

20 and over: Possible dependence. Your drinking is already causing you problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reduce your drinking. You should seek professional help to ascertain the level of your dependence and the safest way to withdraw from alcohol.

Severe dependence may need medically assisted withdrawal, or detox, in a hospital or a specialist clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours needing specialist treatment.

This content was originally published here.

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