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Beer Connected to Psoriasis in Women

A new study suggests that women who drink regular beer have a greater risk of developing psoriasis, an immune-mediated skin disease. According to the research, the same results are not true for women who drink light beer, wine or other types of alcohol.

The Nurses’ Health Study II took place between 1991 and 2005, and asked 82,869 women who where 27 to 44 years of age in 1991 to report on the amount and type of alcohol they consumed. They also reported if they had received a diagnosis of psoriasis. By 2005, 1,150 cases of psoriasis had developed.

Compared to women who did not drink alcohol, researchers found that the risk of psoriasis was 72 per cent greater among women who drank an average of 2.3 drinks of beer per week. In contrast, compared to women who drank light beer or other alcoholic beverages, women who consumed an average of five or more drinks of regular beer per week had a 1.8 times higher risk of developing psoriasis.

“Non-light beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk for psoriasis, suggesting that certain non-alcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new-onset psoriasis,” say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Researchers pointed to starches containing gluten as a possible cause. “One of these components may be the starch source used in making beer. Beer is one of the few non-distilled alcoholic beverages that uses a starch source for fermentation, which is commonly barley.” They noted that brewers use lower amounts of grains to make light beer, potentially explaining why there was not the same connection between light beer and psoriasis.

The study will appear in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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