Beer can trigger risk of psoriasis in women


How many of you like to drink beer after a hectic day in office?  I know it feels refreshing doesn’t it; at least, men enjoy drinking beer in the evening while watching their favourite TV program.  A study conducted in Harvard Medical School, Boston found that drinking five beers in a week is not good for women.  Women increase their chances for psoriasis, which is a chronic skin disease characterised by itchy red scaly patches that most commonly appear on the knees, elbows and scalp but can show up anywhere, including the face.

About the study
The study was lead by Dr Abrar Qureshi, Harvard Medical School, Boston and was reported in Archives of Dermatology.  The study involved

  • more than 82,000 female nurses aged 27 to 44
  • studying their drinking habits from 1991 until 2005

The study found that

  • Women who drank more than 2.3 alcoholic drinks per week had 72% increased risk of psoriasis compared with non-drinkers.
  • Women who drank five glasses of beer per week, their risk of developing psoriasis was 1.8 times higher.
  • When stricter criteria were used to confirm psoriasis cases, their risk was increased 2.3 times.
  • Non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits were not found to increase the risk.

What is the reason for increased psoriasis?


The exact reason is not known, but study suggests that

  • the gluten-containing barley, used in the fermentation of beer, could be responsible for the increased psoriasis risk.
  • people with psoriasis may have a so-called latent-gluten sensitivity, compared with people without psoriasis
  • the research confirms previous research which indicated that gluten-free diet may improve psoriasis in patients who are sensitive to gluten.

The lead author Dr Qureshi stated that “Non-light beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk of psoriasis, suggesting that certain non-alcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new-onset psoriasis.

I think it is better to know, than not to know.  If you have sensitivity towards gluten, then you may want to go for non-alcoholic beer or consider other options like wine and spirits.  The effect of psoriasis can range from mild to disfiguring enough to be socially disabling, so better be safe than sorry.



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