Gut microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes that live in the intestinal tract. Some studies have shown good results of a more diverse gut microbiome is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and severe COVID.
In a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, men who drank one can of alcoholic or nonalcoholic lager a day for four weeks improved the diversity of their gut microbiome.
Beer is rich in healthy compounds called polyphenols, which reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the gut. This creates a favorable environment for beneficial bacteria to grow in.
Does beer have more benefits than risks?
In this double-blind trial, 22 healthy men ages 23 to 58 were randomly split into two groups. One group drank 11 ounces of nonalcoholic lager every day for four weeks, while the other drank lager with 5.2% alcohol (comparable to Budweiser).
At the end of the four weeks, analyses of blood and fecal samples revealed an increase in more than 20 types of helpful bacteria in the men’s digestive tracts in both groups. Neither group saw significant changes in body weight, body fat, or cardiometabolic biomarkers such as blood sugar or LDL cholesterol.
Previous studies at 2020, showed the benefit on gut microbiome of 12 oz of nonalcoholic beer per day, but also showed that a 4.9% alcohol beer had no improvement on the microbiome. That study was on men and women of different regions in Mexico , and the actual study was on healthy men in Portugal.
That suggests the gut microbiome changes can be influenced by gender and body mass index. And the fact that participants resided in different communities may also have had an impact
Non Alcoholic beer appeared to boost microbial diversity in people in both studies across the board. For now, that means nonalcoholic beer is likely the better bet for gut health, though more research is needed. This may be helpful for the treatment of several bowel diseases.
Ana Faria, PhD, clinical nutritionist at NOVA Medical School, Lisbon, Portugal, (June 15, 2022). Impact of beer and nonalcoholic beer consumption on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Retrieved from: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.2c00587
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