Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Better For Your Liver & Kidneys?
How Does Alcoholic Beer Impact Your Liver?
In order to understand the impact of alcoholic beer on the liver, we need to first take a look at how a healthy functioning liver works. The liver is one of the largest organs in your body, performing a wide range of important metabolic functions. Its chief function is to process the nutrients in our diet and convert them into substances that our bodies can use, storing these substances and supplying our cells with them as they are needed.
Most crucially to our query here, the liver also processes toxic substances and converts them into harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body. Your own personal toxin filter, how cool is that?
When we consume alcoholic beer, this bodily powerhouse metabolises the alcohol, where enzymes break it down and change it into a form that your body can use. Understanding the rate of metabolism (or the body converting what you eat and drink into energy) is crucial in understanding the effects on alcohol on our liver. A fully functioning liver can process one ounce of alcohol, or one standard drink, per hour. If you consume more drinks than this, your liver and system become saturated with alcohol which will accumulate in your blood and bodily tissues until it can be properly metabolised.
These are the short term impacts of a night of drinking, but how does this look over the long term?
According to the NHS, even 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day over a longer period can harm your liver, and binge drinking of 4-5 drinks per day can cause serious liver damage. Long term alcohol overuse can inhibit your liver’s ability to break down and remove harmful substances from your body, and increases your risk of chronic liver inflammation and cirrhosis.
It’s worth paying careful attention to your alcohol consumption as even a couple of drinks per day can cause some pretty nasty consequences to your poor old liver.
The Effects Of Alcohol Free Beer On The Liver
With 0.0% alcohol and fewer calories, it’s clear that drinking alcohol free beer such as Days is a healthier option than the alcohol-infused equivalent.
But how does truly alcohol free beer impact the liver?
Taking this theory to the next level, a 2020 study sought to answer just this question. The effects of non-alcoholic beer on patients with liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver caused by long term damage) were observed to be safe and well tolerated, delivering an improvement in the quality of life of these subjects. “A clear trend towards an improvement in social function and mental health was observed in the group receiving non-alcoholic beer,” observed the authors of the study.
If non-alcoholic beer can be safely consumed even by those with serious long term damage to their liver, it’s fair to say that it represents a safe healthy choice for those of us without damaged livers too.
How Does Alcoholic Beer Impact Your Kidneys?
Let’s first explore how the kidneys work before we dive in on alcohol’s impact on them. The kidneys primary job is to filter your blood. This pair of bean shaped organs on either side of your spine remove waste, control your body’s fluid balance and maintain the right level of electrolytes - salts and minerals in your body that conduct electrical impulses, helping your body do much of its work.
Blood comes into your kidney, waste gets removed, your salt and mineral levels are adjusted if needed, and this filtered blood then circulates around your body. Waste is turned into urine, which the bladder then gets rid of in turn.
Good kidney function means that you’ll maintain a stable body temperature, you won’t be fatigued, your thoughts will be clear and you will be able to engage in normal levels of physical activity.
When our kidneys aren’t functioning well, you will find yourself out of breath during regular exercise and very fatigued with a shortness of breath afterwards, feeling cold when everyone else feels warm, a sensation of dizziness or weakness and you may have trouble thinking clearly. Doesn’t sound great, eh?
When we drink alcoholic beer, our kidneys have to work harder to filter out the alcohol which they see as a toxic product. Drinking alcohol also increases blood pressure, which also has a negative impact on kidneys as it makes it more difficult for them to do their job and make your life plain sailing, so it’s not advisable to do anything to hinder this process.
Since they are part of a system, when the liver is damaged even from acute alcohol consumption, the kidneys can soon become impaired themselves. Alcohol is known to dehydrate the body, and this too causes the kidneys to work overtime to maintain homeostasis - a state of calm and stability in the body.
Next time you’re thinking “wow, my liver is going to hate me for this” after a night’s drinking, spare a thought for your kidneys too as the teamwork between the two organs is integral to maintaining a healthy body free of toxic waste.
The Effects Of Alcohol Free Beer On The Kidneys
So, we know that drinking alcoholic beer can have a detrimental effect on the kidneys. But how about alcohol free beer?
There are few studies at present on the effects of alcohol free beer on the kidneys, but let’s look at how alcohol free beer impacts other bodily functions related to kidney function. Alcohol free beer has been shown in a number of studies to improve blood circulation, prevent thrombosis and reduce the risk of your arteries becoming clogged with plaque. All of these benefits can contribute towards a healthily functioning kidney, since we know that the kidneys also play a role in regulating blood pressure levels.
We also know that some alcohol free beers are isotonic, meaning that your body absorbs them quickly and also that beers with alcohol content below 0.2% will hydrate you rather than dehydrate you, as alcoholic beers are diuretics. Compared with the hard task that alcoholic drinks give our kidneys in order to filter out the toxic product, it seems safe to assume that a truly alcohol free beer such as Days with 0.0% alcohol won’t exert any additional pressure on the kidneys which would appear to be a net positive here.
If you’re someone who wants to do more, and make sure that your kidneys and liver are not doing less, opt for a crisp, refreshing and truly 0.0% alcohol free Days beer for even more you-at-your-best Days.