Drink Up, Your Kidneys Will Thank You

According to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer last month entitled Alcoholic beverages and risk of renal cell cancer, moderate consumption of alcohol — ideally strong beer or red and white wine — may lower the risk of renal cell cancer, better known as kidney cancer. The study concluded that your odds of getting kidney cancer was reduced around 40% by drinking approximately two glasses of wine or two bottles or beer per week. Curiously, while strong beer, red wine and white wine had this positive effect, light beer, medium-strong beer, strong wine, or hard liquor had virtually no effect.

The study’s authors speculated on the reasons for this in their concluding remarks.

A reduced risk associated with consumption of wine and beer might be due to the phenolics they contain as these possess antioxidant and antimutagenic properties (Elattar and Virji, 1999; Denke, 2000) or increase plasma antioxidant capacity in human (Ghiselli et al, 2000). However, the lower risk that we observed for three different alcoholic beverages and total ethanol intake suggests that alcohol itself rather than a particular type of drink is responsible for the reduction in risk. However, it is unclear why we observed an inverse association only for strong beer and not for medium-strong, or light beer, although this might be due to the lower ethanol content of light (1.8%) and medium-strong (2.8%) beer compared to strong beer (4.5%).


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