An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Pair it with a glass of lager and your gut could become even healthier, according to a new study.
Posted in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the randomized, double-blind study found that moderate beer consumption can increase the diversity of gut bacteria. The microbes in our gut are incredibly important for our well-being: they facilitate digestion, protect our body against pathogenic bacteria and regulate our immune system, while producing essential nutrients to supply us. Not only that, but they can also help our body produce more serotoninthere “feel-good hormone.” And so, scientists are increasingly investigating ways to improve individual gut health.
The new research adds to that. “Our study shows that beer is a complex product made up of ingredients that can modulate our gut with a positive impact. Products with this nutritional richness and little or no alcohol content are very interesting to integrate into the framework of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle”, said co-author Ana Faria from the Nova University of Lisbon.
The researchers conducted the study over a period of four weeks, with study participants receiving 325ml of beer – non-alcoholic or alcoholic – with supper every day. Participants’ gut microbiota were examined before and after the study. Their feces and blood samples were also tested. It turns out that, while boosting gut flora diversity, beer consumption did not have a negative impact on participants’ body weight, fat mass, or even heart health and metabolism.
“One thing we know is [drinking beer] increased diversity, and we know that many diseases reduce diversity… So diversity, in general, is usually a good sign, but I don’t see more than that,” Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist from California , who was not involved in the study, Told Healthline, explaining that “our understanding of the microbiome population in the gut is like having a telescope on the moon and looking at people on Earth and asking, ‘What is the role of each individual in their family in their environment? and their personality? »
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To the researchers’ credit, however, they were able to establish a positive impact of beer consumption on participants’ gut health – finding higher levels of alkaline phosphatase present in their feces, indicating healthier guts.
“Although the results suggest that one bottle of beer a day may benefit gut health, the scientists emphasize that the safest level of alcohol consumption is zero,” Noted New Atlas, study report. “In addition to established health risks such as liver disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease, recent research has uncovered direct causal links to cancer.”
The good news, however, is that the benefits of drinking beer don’t have to come from alcoholic beer; non-alcoholic variants work just as well. So unless one dives into the findings of this study in hopes of feeling better about one’s Friday night drinking plans, news of a relaxing, chilled drink improving our gut health is in. win-win effect.
But there is a problem – or two – with this study. The first is that his dataset was rather small, comprising only 22 people. Thus, further and more in-depth scientific studies are yet to explore how and how much beer impacts the health of a larger group of people.
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The second major issue, however, was that these 22 participants were all male – why the researchers felt the impact of beer drinking on women was not worth investigating is unclear. Studies for men only – yet another example of the secular gender bias in medicine — are often carried out intuitively, if not in an obvious way, wrong premise that what works for men’s bodies will also work for women. The weight of the assumption, of course, is borne by the women.
A report 2001 by the United States Government Accountability Office found that 80% of prescription drugs withdrawn from the market posed greater risks to women’s health in the form of side effects – a consequence that could have been avoided by including more women in studies. Yet between 2004 and 2013, women in the United States encountered 2 million adverse drug events; for men, the number was much lower at 1.3 million.
“For much of documented history, women have been excluded from medicine and science.[tific] knowledge production, so basically we ended up with a health system, among other things in society, that was made by men for men,” Kate Young, a public health researcher at Monash University in Australia, had said The Guardian in 2019.
Obviously, the present documented is not much different either. So if you’re a woman — or basically anyone but a cis man — unfortunately, researchers don’t have any data to assure you that drinking beer is good for your gut health. But again, women should not drink anyway, should they? If they go out to party or sip a beer in front of the TV, who will do all the cleaning? Not mensurely.