Epidemiological studies reveal a J-shaped association between alcohol consumption and arterial stiffness, with arterial stiffening lower among mild-to-moderate drinkers than heavy drinkers or non-drinkers. A study examined the effects of ingesting a small amount of beer, corresponding to the amount consumed per day by a mild drinker, on arterial stiffness.
Eleven men (20-22 years) participated, in random order and on different days, in four separate trials. The participants each drank 200 or 350 mL of alcohol-free beer (AFB200 and AFB350) or beer (B200 and B350), and were monitored for 90 min post ingestion. There were no significant changes in arterial stiffness among trials that ingested AF200 or AF350. However, among trials ingesting B200 and B350, breath alcohol concentrations increased significantly, while indexes of arterial stiffness decreased significantly for approximately 60 min: carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (B200: -0.6 ± 0.2 m/sec; B350: -0.6 ± 0.2 m/sec); brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (B200: -53 ± 18 cm/sec; B350: -57 ± 19 cm/sec); and cardio-ankle vascular index (B200: -0.4 ± 0.1 unit; B350: -0.3 ± 0.1 unit). Furthermore, AFB showed no effect on arterial stiffness, regardless of whether or not it contained sugar, and no significant difference in antioxidant capacity was found between AFB and B.
This is the first study to demonstrate that acute ingestion of relatively small amounts of beer reduces arterial stiffness (for approximately 60 min). The data also suggest that the reduction in arterial stiffness induced by ingestion of beer is largely attributable to the effects of alcohol.
Source: Ingesting a small amount of beer reduces arterial stiffness in healthy humans. Nishiwaki M, Kora N, Matsumoto N. Addict Behav. 2017 Aug 24;76:243-249. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.08.016.