Alcohol such as in beer is considered bad for your overall health, including for kidneys. However, it may not be always bad. The answer is dependent on the way of how you drink. For instance, if we drink it in moderation, we may do more good than harm! On the other hand, heavy drinking does hurt the kidneys.
The benefits of alcohol are usually derived from moderate drinking. And again, the problem comes when you drink it too much! In general, the following are pros and cons of drinking beer.
Some benefits of drinking alcohol are not fully known and still debatable. But it seems that drinking is not always bad, especially as long as you do it in moderation.
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Nutrient values in beer
Beer is quite high in some essential minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium and vitamins of B-group.
It also contains antioxidant called flavonoids. Thankfully for hops and barley, these are often used to make beer.
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
There is evidence that light-or-moderate drinking may provide cardio-protective effects. Some studies even found that moderate-beer drinkers are less likely to develop coronary heart disease.
And even interestingly, the risk of CHD-related mortality is slightly higher in abstainers than moderate drinkers.
To help boost good cholesterol
It seems that moderate consumption of alcohol may provide a number of different benefits. Another good thing, this may also help boost HDL (good cholesterol).
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- Moderate drinking may help reduce the risk of chromosomal damage to the exposure of radiation, according to Japan researchers.
- And it may also help decrease the risk of developing kidney stones.
While there are a few health advantages, there are also some drawbacks you need to concern as well! Again, the problem usually comes when you go with heavy drinking.
Beer is high in strong stimulants of gastric acid secretion. Therefore, it may trigger gastro-esophageal reflux, causing heartburn.
High in purines
Purines can be converted into uric acid. And excess uric acid in the blood can increase the risk of gout. And beer is quite high in purines.
If you have a personal history of a gout attack, you may need to restrict or avoid it in order to prevent it from coming back. See also list of foods high in purines in this section!
High blood pressure
Here may be the starting point of when drinking excessively can cause and worsen numerous different health conditions. Some studies show that heavy drinking can contribute to raise blood pressure and bad cholesterol (learn more in here).
Heavy drinking may also contribute to cause excess abdominal fat. And more belly fat you gain, more health risks you will have! Even excess belly fat is still dangerous for people with normal weight (see more this issue in this previous post)!
Alcohol can affect your central nervous system. If you drink it excessively, your body can turn into intoxication and hangover – causing poor motor coordination, loose muscle tone, poor responds, and other bad effects!
- Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with a number of birth defects. Since there is still no clearly answer about the safe level of drinking alcohol for pregnant women, alcohol is not recommended during pregnancy.
- Medical interaction. If you’re taking certain medication, alcohol may interact harmfully with it!
- Alcohol can cause addiction.
- It can cause dehydration, too.
As well we know that the kidneys are important part of the urinary system. They filter blood and remove wastes, which then turn them into urine.
They also have function to filter alcohol from the bloodstream. Heavy drinking can make them work harder. Overtime, this may impair the function of the kidneys, making them less able to keep the blood clean from harmful substances.
Heavy drinking can hurt the kidneys in several different ways. More excess alcohol you drink will make them work harder!
Your kidneys also have a role to help maintain the balance of fluid (water) in the body (learn more in here). And excess alcohol in the bloodstream can affect this kidney’s function. For instance, alcohol can lead to dehydration. And this drying effect can hurt the kidneys.
Heavy drinking is also bad for your blood pressure. Heavy drinkers are more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure) than moderate drinkers and abstainers.
To keep the kidneys run well in filtering blood, the rate of blood flow to the kidneys is kept at certain level.
High blood pressure can affect the blood flow in the kidneys, making it run hardly. And as a result, the kidneys work harder. In fact, hypertension is one of common causes of kidney diseases.
Moreover, excess alcohol you drink over time can cause damage to the liver. And this can also add your kidney’s job! If there is something goes awry with the liver, this may also affect the normal rate of blood flow to the kidneys. In fact, many patients with kidney disorders or/and liver disease are also alcohol dependent.