How does Beer work?

Beer is thought to help prevent heart disease by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good cholesterol." Also, the vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) contained in beer can help lower homocysteine levels, a chemical considered to be one of the risk factors for heart disease.

Are there safety concerns?

Beer seems to be safe for most people when used in moderation. This translates to two or fewer 12 ounce glasses a day. Drinking more than this at one sitting can cause a lot of side effects, including: flushing, confusion, trouble controlling emotions, blackouts, loss of coordination, seizures, drowsiness, trouble breathing, hypothermia, low blood sugar, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, irregular heart beat, and others.

Long-term use can lead to alcohol dependence and can cause many serious side effects, including: malnutrition, memory loss, mental problems, heart problems, liver failure, swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas, cancers of the digestive track, and others.

Do not use beer if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have a heart condition such as chest pain (angina) or congestive heart failure (CHF).
  • You have gout.
  • You have high blood pressure; 3 or more drinks a day can increase blood pressure.
  • You have high triglyceride levels.
  • You have a sleep disorder called insomnia.
  • You have liver disease.
  • You have a pancreas condition called pancreatitis.
  • You have heartburn or a stomach ulcer.
  • You have blood disorder called porphyria.
  • You have a mental disorder.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Beer might cause excessive sedation if combined with medications used during and after surgery.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.