In a recent article published in the journal Journal of Agricultural and Food ChemistryThe researchers analyzed the impact of drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on the gut microbiota.

Study: Effects of beer and non-alcoholic beer consumption on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.  Image Credit: MsMaria/ShutterstockStudy: Effects of Beer and Non-Alcoholic Beer Consumption on Gut Microbiota: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Triall. Image credit: MsMaria / Shutterstock


A fermented extract of malted barley grains, beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. Epidemiological studies have shown that drinking small to moderate amounts of beer reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. These protective properties of beer are equivalent to those of wine in moderation.

However, the link between alcohol consumption and cancer negates the benefits of alcoholic beverages in diabetes and coronary heart disease. Thus, despite numerous preclinical and molecular studies demonstrating the health benefits of fermented alcoholic beverages, it is critical to study and evaluate the effects of de-alcoholized and alcoholic beer.

Also, like other phenolics, beer polyphenols can end up in the gut, where they can regulate bacterial growth. Live fermentation microbes may also be present in some beers.

The Flemish Gut Flora Project has shown that beer consumption significantly affects the overall composition of the microbiota. Given the role of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, the regulation of the gut microbiota may be another way to regulate the health effects of beer.

About the study

The current study was motivated by the lack of randomized clinical trials investigating the effects of non-alcoholic and moderately alcoholic beer on intermediate measures of cardiovascular risk and gut microbiota. The present pilot study aimed to evaluate how beer with and without alcohol affects gut microbiota composition and cardiometabolic markers in healthy men.

In the current double-blind, randomized, two-group, parallel study, researchers recruited 22 healthy men who drank 330 ml or one bottle of soft drink, i.e. 0.0% v/v, beer or alcoholic, i.e. /v, beer daily for four weeks of observation. Blood and stool samples were obtained before and after the intervention period. In addition, sequencing of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (16S rRNA) gene was used to study the gut microbiota.

Healthy subjects from the Lisbon metropolitan area were recruited through social media advertising. Applicants were asked to visit the NOVA School of Medicine for a physical examination and a quick questionnaire regarding their medical background to assess their eligibility for the study.

Inclusion criteria were healthy males, moderate alcoholics, people aged 18 to 65 years, without chronic diseases with significant gastrointestinal consequences, able and willing to give written informed consent. Individuals with documented cardiovascular disease, diabetes or other relevant metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, use of antibiotics in the previous four weeks or use of laxatives in the past two weeks, and those with alcohol, drug or other substance abuse were excluded. substances. .


The authors found that drinking non-alcoholic or alcoholic beer daily for four weeks did not lead to weight gain or body weight gain. They also found that it did not drastically alter serum cardiometabolic parameters. However, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer appeared to increase fecal alkaline phosphatase (AP) function, which is a measure of gut barrier action. In addition, they improved the diversity of the gut microbiome, which has been associated with beneficial health effects.

Phenolic compounds in beer, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids, may contribute to the increase in bacterial heterogeneity seen in the gut microbiota of non-alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer drinkers. These results are consistent with other recent studies that suggest that drinking non-alcoholic beer for 30 days increases gut microbial α-diversity.

The team noted that some substances such as yeast, polyphenols and yeast components can be removed during beer production, especially during beer filtration. As a result, beers with higher levels of yeast and polyphenols may have a stronger effect on gut flora than the Lager beer used in this study.

The results also showed that serum ALP levels decrease after four weeks of daily beer consumption, regardless of the beer’s alcohol concentration. Because serum ALP activity has often been used to assess bone, liver, or heart damage when ALP function has been elevated, observations of serum ALP activity may not be clinically relevant.


Overall, the results of the study showed that drinking alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer increased gut bacteria diversity without affecting body weight, body weight, or serum cardiometabolic parameters, making these drinks a promising way to increase microbiota diversity. Indeed, the present results indicate that the effect of beer on the regulation of the gut microbiome is independent of alcohol and can be enhanced by the polyphenols found in beer.

Various studies show that drinking alcohol reduces the diversity of bacteria. On the other hand, drinking alcoholic beer in the current study increased the diversity of gut bacteria. As a result, beer polyphenols appear to have outperformed alcohol’s negative effects on gut flora.

In addition, the scientists stated that the causal factor in the decrease in serum ALP activity and whether this is due to improved bone, heart, or liver function requires more research. In addition, the effect of beer on gut microbiota modification and ALP function suggests a health benefit that should be investigated in a cohort with metabolic disorders.

Link to the journal:

  • Claudia Marquez, Liliana Dinis, Ines Barreiros Mota, Juliana Morais, Shamila Ismael, José B. Pereira-Leal, Joana Cardoso, Pedro Ribeiro, Helena Beato, Mafalda Rezende, Christophe Espiritu Santo, Ana Paula Cortes, Andre Rosario, Diogo Pestana, Diana Teixeira, Ana Faria and Conceisan Calhau; Effects of beer and non-alcoholic beer consumption on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c00587,

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