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What other names is Beer known by?

Alcohol, Alcool, Bière, Cerveza, Ethanol, Éthanol.

What is Beer?

Beer is an alcoholic drink.

Beer is used for preventing diseases of the heart and circulatory system, including coronary heart disease, "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. It is also used to reduce the chance of death from heart attack and from another heart condition called ischemic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction.

Beer is also used for preventing decline of thinking skills in later life, Alzheimer's disease, weak bones (osteoporosis), gallstones, type 2 diabetes, heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, prostate cancer, breast cancer, other cancers, and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori is the bacterium that causes ulcers.

Some people use beer to stimulate the appetite and digestion, and to increase the flow of breast milk.

Likely Effective for...

  • Preventing diseases of the heart and circulatory system, such as heart attack, stroke, "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), and chest pain (angina). There is some evidence that drinking alcohol can benefit the heart. Drinking one alcoholic beverage per day or drinking alcohol on at least 3 to 4 days per week is a good rule of thumb for people who drink alcohol. But don't drink more than two drinks per day. More than two drinks daily can increase the risk of over-all death as well as dying from heart disease. Here is what researchers have found:
    • Drinking alcoholic beverages, including beer, by healthy people seems to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Moderate alcohol use (one to two drinks per day) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and heart attack by approximately 30% to 50% when compared with nondrinkers.
    • Light to moderate alcohol (one to two drinks per day) use reduces the risk of having the type of stroke that is caused by a clot in the blood vessel (ischemic stroke), but increases the risk of having the type of stroke caused by a broken blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).
    • Light to moderate alcohol consumption (one to two drinks per day) in the year before a first heart attack is associated with a reduced cardiovascular and all-cause mortality risk compared with non-drinkers.
    • In men with established coronary heart disease, consumption of 1-14 alcoholic drinks per week, including beer, doesn't seem to have any effect on heart disease or all-cause mortality compared with men who drink less than one drink per week. Drinking three or more drinks per day is associated with increased likelihood of death in men with a history of heart attacks.
    • However, some early research suggests that dDrinking about 11 ounces of a a specific type of beer beverage (Maccabee beer) 330 mL daily for 30 days does not seem to reduce blood pressure or improve cholesterol in people with heart disease.
  • Reducing the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke and other causes. There is some evidence that light to moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks can reduce the risk of death from any cause in people who are middle-aged and older.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Maintaining thinking skills with aging. Elderly men who have a history of drinking one alcoholic drink per day seem to maintain better general thinking ability during their late 70s and 80s compared to non-drinkers. However, drinking more than four alcoholic drinks per day during middle age seems to be linked with significantly poorer thinking ability later in life.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). There is some evidence that consuming one to four alcoholic drinks per day reduces the risk of heart failure in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Diabetes. People who drink alcohol in moderate amounts seem to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes who consume alcohol in moderate amounts seem to have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared with non-drinkers with type 2 diabetes. The risk reduction is similar to that found in healthy people who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Preventing ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. There is some evidence that moderate to high consumption of alcohol (more than 75 grams) per week from beverages such as beer and wine can reduce the risk of H. pylori infection.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Reducing the risk of death from cancer. Although drinking wine has been linked with some reductions in cancer mortality, drinking beer does not seem to have this effect. In fact, there is some evidence that drinking beer might slightly increase cancer-related death. There is some evidence that drinking one or more alcoholic drinks might increase the likelihood of death from breast cancer.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Preventing Alzheimer's disease. Developing evidence suggests one to two alcoholic drinks per day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in both men and women compared to non-drinkers.
  • Anxiety. The effect of alcohol on anxiety is complicated and may be affected by the psychological state of the user. Alcohol sometimes reduces anxiety, sometimes increases it, and sometimes has no effect.
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis). There is some developing evidence that suggests moderate alcohol consumption in women who have passed menopause is linked with stronger bones. Alcohol intake of one-half to one drink per day seems to have the greatest effect on bone strength compared with non-drinkers and heavy drinkers of alcohol.
  • Preventing prostate cancer.
  • Preventing breast cancer.
  • Preventing gallstones.
  • Preventing kidney stones.
  • Stimulating appetite and digestion.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of beer for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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