Our gut microbiome’s state continues to be connected to various health effects, with the diversity of these microbial populations thought to play a critical role in our disease susceptibility and longevity. A small pilot study reveals that moderate consumption of lager beer may positively impact this diversity, whether it’s a classic brew or one of the increasingly popular non-alcoholic variations.
The study, led by experts from Portugal, aimed to build on previous research that suggested moderate beer drinking could boost the diversity of gut flora. The researchers investigated this theory in a randomized, double-blind study with 19 healthy males assigned to one of two groups and given 325 ml (11 oz) of either non-alcoholic or alcoholic beer with supper each day.
This was conducted over four weeks, with feces and blood samples taken before and after and the gut microbiota examined using RNA gene sequencing. Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that drinking this much beer had no effect on body weight, body fat mass, or blood markers for metabolism and heart health.
Both groups had more diverse gut flora and higher levels of fecal alkaline phosphatase, a marker of intestinal health. According to the researchers, they could be induced by polyphenols in the beer and microorganisms that aid in its fermentation.
While the findings imply that one bottle of beer per day may benefit gut health, the researchers stress that the safest level of alcohol use is none. Aside from well-known health hazards such as liver disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure, recent studies have revealed direct causal connections with cancer. Therefore, given that beer’s possible gut health benefits appear independent of alcohol, the study presents another reason to drink non-alcoholic beer.
The study was published on June 15, 2022, in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.