Sunday, June 18, 2017

330ml/d Beer for 30 Days Will Sign. Improve Healthy Men's Glucose Management | 58% Lowered Insulin Resistance!

Beer by the numbers.
With me being a German citizen, you probably suspect bias when it comes to the health effects of beer... and you're right: I hate beer! I don't know why, but I don't like the taste of it and only drink it when it's necessary to socialize. Accordingly, you may believe me when I tell you that a recent study from the Federal Inst. of Education, Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro (IFRJ) found that drinking 330ml of alcoholic beer is not only not bad, but downright healthy.

From previous articles about beer, here at the SuppVersity, you will remember that non-alcoholic beer is an excellent sports drink (learn more in "The Ergogenic Effect of Nonalcoholic Beer Front- & Back Loading + 15 Beerish Health Facts Everyone Should Know" | read it).
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With the publication of Luciana C. Nogueira's latest study, it does now appear as if alcoholic beer had at least as many benefits as non-alcoholic beer, of which SuppVersity readers know that it has blood pressure lowering effect, a high magnesium content, contains glutathione precursors and active immunomodulatory peptides and proteins as well as the 35+ phenolic compounds (about 80–90% from malt and 10–20% from hops), etc. (learn more in the previously cited SuppVersity article).

Obviously, that's good news; after all, beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. The fact that Nogueira's study showed significant positive health effects on fifteen healthy adult men (aged 20 to 57 y) in a 3x30 day study, is thus quasi-relevant for humanity ;-)
Figure 1: This is where getting healthy (by drinking beer) is the cheapest; source:
In Treatment 1 (Baseline), the subjects, who were non-smokers, free of liver disease or any other disorder that could alter the metabolism of alcohol and had a habitual alcohol intake classified as low (0.1 to 9.9 g of ethanol per d) to moderate (10 to 30 g of ethanol per day), followed their usual diet without drinking any alcoholic beverage; in Treatment 2, subjects consumed 330 mL non-alcoholic beer (NAB); and in Treatment 3, the subjects drank 330 mL alcoholic beer (AB) per day.
Table 1: Characterization of beers—quality indicators (Nogueira 2017)
Please note: Not all beers are created equal! I cannot guarantee that your beer will have the same health benefits as the beer that was used in the study at hand. Since it was brewed in a commercial brewery and without any tricks (aside from milling the malt, which favors the action of enzymes on insoluble components), fermented for only 5 days and matured to achieve the best taste, I would yet suspect that the results apply to all Pilsen beers.
In contrast to what the wine industry has tried to make us believe for the larger part of both this and the previous century, beer turned out to have similar if nor more pronounced health benefits than wine (see Figure 2): It was found that the use of alcoholic beer (AB) for 30 d (16 g alcohol/d)
  • reduced the blood insulin and fasting glucose, significantly, and
  • significantly reduced insulin resistance. 
As the scientists rightly point out, their study is thus the first to demonstrate that "the daily intake of 330 mL AB could statistically change the lipid profile and insulin sensitivity of adult men" (Nogueira 2017) - now, the bad news is that the lipid profile worsened significantly.
Figure 1: Consuming 330ml of alcoholic beer for 30 days had impressive anti-diabetes effects (Nogueira 2017); insulin and fasting insulin resistance index on the primary, glucose on the secondary axis.
What is particularly surprising, though, is that the ill effect on the HDL/LDL ratio was much more pronounced during the 30 days in which the subjects consumed the non-alcoholic beer (16% lower HDL/LDL ratio; difference not statistically significant, though). That's in contrast to previous studies showing that moderate alcohol consumption in general, and beer, in particular, is associated with reductions in both, the triglyceride:HDL and the total cholesterol:HDL ratios in the long run (Huang 2017).

Improved glycemia ✓, but also HDL:LDL ratio ↘ 

Furthermore, consuming non-alcoholic beer elevated the subjects' triglycerides (66.4 vs. 80.6) to a similar extent as other sugary non-alcoholic beverages (89.5) and lacked the previously highlighted beneficial effects on blood glucose management that was also observed in epidemiological studies.
Figure 2: Type + amount of alcohol matter when it comes to the effect on one's type II diabetes mellitus risk (Kao 2001).
It does, therefore, appear logical to assume that it is the moderate alcohol consumption that's responsible for the improvements in glucose management and none of the various phenols which would/could be found in the non-alcoholic beer. To get to the bottom of the mechanism, though, we'd need molecular analyses complementary to the health parameters the scientists didn't run - that's a pity because other recent studies like Kim et al. (2009) seem to refute the idea that it's the alcohol that does the trick. In their study, the scientists from the Stanford University did not find sign. effects of moderate wine or vodka consumption - their study subjects were, however, insulin-resistant to begin with and the amount of alcohol that was administered was two times higher.
Figure 3: The latest meta-analysis of studies w/ a duration of at least 2 weeks seems to confirm that a moderate alcohol consumption improves glycemia, in this case, the long-term glucose gauge HbA1c in healthy individuals (Schrieks 2015).
Accordingly, I'd suggest we stick to the results of the latest meta-analysis by Schrieks et al. who came to the conclusion that "the current evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may decrease fasting insulin and HbA1c concentrations among nondiabetic subjects" (Schrieks 2015).
PWO alcohol is not for male athletes. But before you rejoice, ladies. The ill health effects of a given amount of alcohol are more severe for the fairer sex. The study did not use beer as a test beverage, though | more.
What's the verdict? In contrast to what many people certainly believe, beer, at least when it's consumed in moderation (16g/d alcohol) and for "only" 30 days has profound anti-diabetic/pro-glucose-management effects in healthy young and middle-aged men.

The effects are probably in one way or another related to its alcohol content because the study at hand found no such effect of non-alcoholic beer.

The worsening of the HDL/LDL ratio that was observed in both, the non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer treatments, is not necessarily a reason for concern - especially if you have never had problems w/ blood lipids | Comment!
  • Franco L, Sánchez C, Bravo R, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C, Romero E, Cubero J. The sedative effect of non-alcoholic beer in healthy female nurses. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e37290. Epub 2012 Jul 18.
  • Huang, Shue, et al. "Longitudinal study of alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations: a community-based study." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 105.4 (2017): 905-912.
  • Kao, WH Linda, et al. "Alcohol consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: atherosclerosis risk in communities study." American Journal of Epidemiology 154.8 (2001): 748-757.
  • Koletzko B, Lehner F. Beer and breastfeeding. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2000;478:23-8. Review.
  • Nogueira, Luciana C., et al. "Moderate Alcoholic Beer Consumption: The Effects on the Lipid Profile and Insulin Sensitivity of Adult Men." Journal of Food Science (2017): ahead of print.
  • Schrieks, Ilse C., et al. "The effect of alcohol consumption on insulin sensitivity and glycemic status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies." Diabetes Care 38.4 (2015): 723-732.