I’m particularly fascinated by beer, its history, and my growing understanding of the recently published medical journals discussing various beneficial health effects of moderate beer consumption. When I was in college and the military, I can admit that I was not drinking moderately and used to ALWAYS aim to drink to get drunk. After growing up a wee-bit into adulthood, I’ve come to gain a much more respectful appreciation towards my relationship with this ancient beverage.
What I found in my research into 16 medical journals, is moderate beer (alcohol) consumption has quite a few health benefits. Health benefits appear to be from the vast amount of nutrients contained within alcohol. However, like anything you consume, moderation is always usually good advice. But, does moderation mean the same thing for everyone, regardless of genetics, current health, body size, tolerance, etc?
The more I listen to various experts discuss moderation, the more I’m convinced there might not be a standardized definition of moderate beer consumption. As we’ll dive in below, we’ll look at a variety of different perspectives on how beer can affect your health.
What Is Beer?
Beer is one of the oldest known types of drinks dating back as far as history stretches. It’s the third most consumed beverage, right behind water and tea. Around 5,000 B.c, the ancient Egyptians hold the world’s oldest known recipe. And you might have guessed it, the oldest known recorded recipe, was beer. Link to more information ancient Egyptian beer.
It’s quite common for beer to only include four basic ingredients, and endless variations and different additions. These four basic ingredients are water, hops, grain, and yeast. How beer is made from these four basic ingredients involves converting the sugars from the grains and having the yeast convert it into both CO2 and alcohol. Thus creating beer.
Some of the most broad-stroke definitions of beer are any types of alcohol made by fermenting grain. Income contract to wine, wine is broadly defined as any alcohol fermented via fruit.
Fermentation is the process of breaking down substances (grain for beer and fruit for wine) through microscopic organisms such as yeast, bacteria, etc.
In short, beer is created by microscopic organisms converting the sugars from grain into alcohol. The process is much more complex than this simple explanation. Nonetheless, the basics are quite simple. And brewing basic beer is almost as simple as the basic definition.
What’s The Origin Of Beer?
When I visited the Modern Man museum in San Diego, they had a giant display dedicated to the history of beer.
As I walked through the display in awe, I saw all sorts of ancient drinking “cups” from cultures all over the world and all throughout history. What I learned was rather interesting.
The first surprising thing I learned about the history of beer m, was the nuns used to drink beer. Not only did the display reach me the church authority drank beer, but all sorts of age groups consumed beer.
This was quite fascinating and I wondered why all different ages and members of society ALL seemed to consume beer?
What I found was, back in the day, beer tended to be the most “safe” beverage to drink when you got thirsty.
This can make sense because before we had cities and governments spending billions of dollars cleaning our modern home water, the ancients were only able to drink the water that was available.
Some of the water from the past very well could have been clean, but, for the most part, water back then was questionable as to whether or not you get sick or not.
Through the fermentation process, the final beer product was known to be more safe and clean to give to yourself and your family.
Is Beer Good Or Bad For You (Morally) In Moderation?
Depending on your beliefs and upbringing, you might have a simple or complex understanding and relationship to beer. Like any tool, it is how you use it that determines if it is a weapon or a tool providing ongoing benefits to yourself and society.
Most sources will say beer can have beneficial effects. While other sources will assert their perspective of finding even a single beer to cause detrimental effects – even in moderation.
I grew up with a simple understanding of beer.
It was an adult beverage and you can only drink it when you turn 21. In my entire life, I’ve only seen my parents consume maybe one or two beers.
Growing up, there seemed to be a strong silent understanding that we had rampant alcoholics in our family who paid the ultimate price for overconsumption and abuse.
My family never hosted any parties involving beer (never) and there was usually always some form of harsh judgment towards those who did choose to drink any type of alcohol – in any amount.
I was taught that if you drank alcohol, you probably also used foul language, and you probably also partook in tobacco products (which was bad).
Needless to say, there was some strict disciplinary action in getting caught drinking underage, in my family.
As I continued growing towards adulthood, I got to experience a variety of different family beliefs and historical family culture surrounding beer and alcohol in general.
I learned some cultures allowed beer drinking at ages below the modern allowable drinking again in the USA. I was further culturally educated that some countries let you order a beer just as soon as you were tall enough to see over the bar and ask for one.
Depending on how you choose to believe in adulthood, there are many different ideas and beliefs on the appropriate nature of consuming beer.
How you want to live is your choice and should be respected, if you’re a consenting adult.
However, if you do happen to have a strict family who “never” drinks alcohol, it might be wise to respect that by not drinking around them, nor talking about alcohol, or brining anything alcohol-related around them.
What’s Moderate Beer Consumption?
In the military, we naturally received COUNTLESS briefing (before the weekend) on drinking alcohol. We were always told by the military authorities to consume alcohol in moderation.
Upon first being told by the upper chain of command to consume in moderation, I asked specifically what is moderation.
The entire room of over 100+ military people erupted in OUT-LOUD laughter – upon me standing up and asking my pressing question.
My face didn’t even crack a smile, and although a part of me wanted to join the chuckle, I was 100% serious.
I really wanted to know what a room full of chiefs, lieutenant, captains, etc had to say about the concept of drinking alcohol in moderation.
After settling down, the lower chain leaders started to look back and forth at the upper chain of command for approval, before offering a solid answer.
Deliberation on the question of moderation took some discussion, and finally, all were in a general agreement that moderation meant six beers.
This didn’t necessarily mean six beers SLAMMED back to back.
Further discussion agreed that you should drink about one per hour, and no more than six beers in one night out of drinking.
Plus they recommended drinking at least a glass of water between each beer.
Recently, Joe Rogan interviewed Aubrey De Grey and right away (first seven minutes), Joe was very curious about Aubrey’s consumption habits.
What’s most interesting about Aubrey’s drinking habits is in relation to his life goals and profession.
Aubrey is in the field of gerontology (the science of aging) and is the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation. SENS stands for Strategies For Engineered Negligible Senescence.
In short, Aubry’s primary outcome is to “end” aging and the process involved with deterioration. In his book, Ending Aging, Aubrey identifies a handful of mechanisms that causes aging.
Long story short, Aubry and Joe started their conversation with Aubrey’s alcohol consumption.
When Aubrey revealed to Joe that he drank — on average — three or four beers per day plus a whiskey or two (on most days). Joe wondered how his colleagues in the anti-aging community thought of his drinking habits.
Aubrey’s answer is that he doesn’t drink in excess for himself.
What Aubrey drinks works for Aubrey and his colleagues know that.
Joe asks Aubrey, how bad is drinking for you? Aubrey responds, “that depends on if you drink too much. And too much is a different amount for different people.”
Aubrey continues asserting, “if you drink within your limits [it’s fine]. If you drink enough to get a hangover, once a week, you’re definitely drinking too much.”
You can’t purchase either on Amazon, however, doing a quick Amazon search for Buffalo Trace and Lagavulin reveals QUITE an impressive collection of interesting artifacts, logos, unique glasses, hats, merch, bar decor, shirts, authentic whiskey barrels, bourbon beard balm, bourbon chocolates, and much more.
What Types Of Health Benefits Does Moderate Beer Intake Provide?
After doing an extensive search on PubMed (biomedical literature), I initially found 16 different medical journals investigating the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.
Without diving too deep into trying to understand every single medical journal’s research on the health benefits of beer and alcohol, I’ll provide the long list of links to research I’ve found so far.
And then I’ll pick a few medical journals and provide some interesting “easy” to understand beneficial effects and the mechanism of action.
If you’re like me, then you’re NOT satisfied with a simple statistic from an anti-alcohol organization.
I’d much rather investigate real people consuming beer and real medical research, from a variety of sources. Since I believe in individualized medicine, I’m not a big fan of the — one size fits all approach to medical standards and consumption recommendations.
Below, I’ll like the specific medical journal. And below all of that, I’ll pick a few of the most interesting pieces of research and attempt to understand some of the findings and results.
16 medical journals on the effects of moderate beer consumption.
- Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: a review
- Moderate Beer Intake and Cardiovascular Health in Overweight Individuals
- The Nutritional Components of Beer and Its Relationship with Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Wine, Beer, Alcohol, and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer
- A New Perspective on the Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota
- Ingesting a small amount of beer reduces arterial stiffness in healthy humans
- Effects of moderate beer consumption on health and disease: A consensus document
- Effects of moderate beer consumption on health
- Nutritional and health benefits of beer
- Beer and health: preventive effects of beer components on lifestyle-related diseases
- Key Findings on Alcohol Consumption and a Variety of Health Outcomes From the Nurses’ Health Study
- The health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption: a review of the literature
- The Risks Associated With Alcohol Use and Alcoholism
- What if alcohol were harmful, even in moderation?
- A bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey? Can the rate of alcohol-induced harm be affected by altering the population’s beverage choices?
- Positive and Negative Alcohol-Related Consequences: Associations with Past Drinking
It was very challenging to choose a few medical journals to review because all of them look so interesting.
To start, we’ll take a look at the article Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Beer published in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences (AJMS). This medical journal highlights moderate beer consumption can reduce cardiovascular (heart) disease risk. Also, they point out that moderate consumption can reduce neurodegenerative disease. In conclusion, they report the evidence shows “no” harm in consuming moderate amounts of beer.
Next, we’ll look at The British Journal Of Nutrition (Br. J. Nutr.) and the article titled, “Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: a review.” In this medical journal, they discuss how light and moderate amounts of beer (or wine) can have a beneficial effect on the immune system. They compare their research to those who abuse alcohol and those who do not drink alcohol at all.
The final quick peer-reviewed medical journal I’ll review is the medical journal called Metabolites. The title of the medical journal we’ll take a quick peek at is called, “A New Perspective on the Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota.” A few highlights from this medical journal begin by describing beer as being 90% water and containing a few raw ingredients that get transformed into a wide range of enriched micronutrients and vitamins through fermentation.
Even though beer is the most widely consumed fermented beverage — in the world (almost 45 billion gallons in 2006) — it hasn’t gotten as much attention as wine for health.
In numerous clinical trials, moderate beer consumption is shown to have similar health properties as red wine – such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.
A few of the listed wide range of micronutrients in beer include; calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, fluoride, silicon, folate, choline, and much more.
How Do You Know If You Have A Drinking Problem?
My basic axiom. IF THERE’S NO PROBLEM, THERE’S NO PROBLEM.
However, drinking can cause problems, if you (or others) continue allowing it and/or choose to not acknowledge it.
Even though I’ve told some anecdotal stories for what those around me have recommended for a proper definition of moderate beer consumption, there are many other “authoritative” sources saying different things.
- Moderate: One drink per day for women and two for men.
- Heavy. Men 15+ per week. Women 8+ per week.
- Binge. Men 5+ in two hours. Women 4+ in two hours.
- 90% of excessive drinkers do “not” have alcohol use disorder.
- Severe alcohol use involves; not being able to limit, drinking despite problems, needing more, and continual obsession.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) has a long list of potential questions to help you self identify whether or not you have a problem.
A few items that may indicate you might have AUD involve giving up activities you use to like in order to drink. Drank more than you actually wanted.
You wanted to cut down or stop but couldn’t (or kept changing your mind). And much more.
Can The Liver Repair Itself After Years Of Excessive Binge Drinking?
If you’ve drunk to overt excess and have started to have liver problems, there might be some methods for healing and repairing your liver.
Cinda found several methods to help you start regenerating your liver naturally.
Some methods include drinking plenty of water, reducing toxicity, taking specific types of herbs targeting liver regeneration, different foods, recipes, and much more.