Lisbon (Portugal) Diet has a strong influence on the intestinal flora and thus also on human health. A study recently showed that a low-fat, vegan diet leads to more healthy intestinal bacteria and thus makes it easier to lose weight. In a pilot study, scientists at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa have now investigated whether and how lager beer affects the intestinal microbiome.
According to their publication in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.2c00587), the study involved 22 healthy men. Half of the subjects consumed a 0.33-liter bottle of 5.2 percent alcohol lager per day after dinner during the four-week study. The control group received alcohol-free lager beer.
At the beginning and end of the study, the scientists examined key health parameters such as body mass index (BMI), serum markers of heart health and the gut microbiome. After four weeks of beer consumption, the microbiome was more diverse in all subjects from both groups. Neither alcoholic nor non-alcoholic beer had a negative impact on weight, heart health or metabolism.
Analysis of the gut microbiome showed that both non-alcoholic and alcoholic lager increased the number of bacterial species in the gut. In particular, types of bacteria that are associated with positive effects on health, such as the function of the intestinal barrier, were more common in both groups.
So far, the researchers have not been able to answer what positive effect beer consumption triggers in the microbiome of the intestine. They think it is likely that secondary plant substances (polyphenols) have triggered the increase in health-promoting bacteria. However, it is also conceivable that the microorganisms created during fermentation increase the diversity of bacteria in the intestine.
The alcohol content of the drink played no role in the small amounts consumed. Nevertheless, the researchers emphasize that alcohol-free beer should be drunk from a health perspective. Further studies should now show whether the intestinal flora is also positively influenced by lager beer in women. The researchers also want to examine the effects of other types of beer.