Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Alcohol consumption and renal dysfunction
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston have found that consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, about one drink a day, may prevent kidney function decline in men.

The researchers examined patient blood samples and questionnaires collected from more than 11,000 men enrolled in the ongoing Physicians’ Health Study. They found that men who consumed at least seven drinks per week were at a 30 percent lower risk of elevated levels of a compound called creatinine in the blood, compared to men who had one or no drinks per week. High blood creatinine levels are a strong indiator of kidney dysfunction.

In previous studies, the association between alcohol consumption and renal dysfunction has been unclear, and most studies found a harmful effect on the kidneys. Dr. Tobias Kurth, a researcher in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stated “This is the first study to show a consistent reduction in the risk of chronic kidney disease with light to moderate drinking. Given the new findings that traditional cardiovascular risk factors are associated with kidney disease, the data is not surprising. This study may be broadening our knowledge of alcohol and disease prevention”.

Kurth noted that this study only included data from healthy men and that more research is needed in this area to confirm the findings, especially for women and sicker individuals.

Source: Schaeffner ES et al. Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Renal Dysfunction in Apparently Healthy Men. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1048-53.

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