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Drinking Beer Could Cause Psoriasis In Women

August 17, 2010

Women who drink certain types of beer may be more likely to develop psoriasis, according to a new study published Monday in the Archives of Dermatology, a JAMA/Archives journal.

In a study that lasted from 1991 through 2005, researcher and dermatologist Dr. Abrar A. Qureshi from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at more than 1,000 cases of psoriasis among women ages 27 to 44. They discovered that the risk of developing the skin condition was 72-percent greater in women who averaged at least 2.3 alcoholic drinks each week.

Next, they looked at the type of alcohol consumed, and discovered that while light beer, red and white wine, and other forms of liquor were not associated with an increased risk for the disease, regular (non-light) beer was. In fact, women who consumed at least five regular beers each week were nearly twice as likely (1.8 times) to be diagnosed with psoriasis.

“Nonlight beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk for psoriasis, suggesting that certain nonalcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new-onset psoriasis,” Dr. Qureshi wrote in his paper, entitled “Alcohol Intake and Risk of Incident Psoriasis in U.S. Women.”

“One of these components may be the starch source used in making beer. Beer is one of the few nondistilled alcoholic beverages that use a starch source for fermentation, which is commonly barley,” he added. “This differs from wine that uses a fruit source (grapes) for fermentation. Some types of liquors such as vodka may use a starch source for fermentation; however, these starches are physically separated from the liquor during distillation. Starch sources such as barley contain gluten, which has been shown to be associated with psoriasis.”

“Lower intake of nonlight beer and intake of other types of alcoholic beverages do not appear to influence the risk of developing psoriasis,” Dr. Qureshi concluded. “Women with a high risk of psoriasis may consider avoiding higher intake of nonlight beer. We suggest conducting further investigations into the potential mechanisms of nonlight beer inducing new-onset psoriasis.”

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