Laine J. Murphey, MD, PhD
In the past few years, several studies have suggested that moderate alcohol intake may provide beneficial health effects, particularly in regards to cardiovascular disease. Initially known as the “French paradox” and described as a phenomenon associated with wine consumption, it is now evident that beer also provides many of the same health benefits, and that these benefits also extend beyond modifying the risk for cardiovascular disease. In this presentation, we will begin by reviewing the epidemiologic studies on beer consumption and health outcomes. While over-consumption of any alcoholic beverage clearly has adverse health effects, most studies suggest that people who drink between one and three drinks of beer per day have decreased risk of death as compared to those who abstain, or those who drink more (often referred to as a “J-shaped” curve). Further, we will discuss potential mechanisms that may explain this observation of decreased mortality. For instance, moderate beer consumption results in metabolic changes which may favorable effects on health, and components of beer, hops and malt, may provide dietary phytochemicals which have anti-oxidant or anti-inflammatory effects that modify disease. Lastly, we will contrast beer with wine and liquor in regards to health.
Laine J. Murphey lives and works in Oregon where he joined the Oregon Medical Group in Eugene, where he is currently a partner in the group’s Hospital Practice, pursuing his interest in clinical medicine.