Analysis

Can consuming alcohol reduce risk of chronic kidney disease? - International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research Critique 225

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While many studies have found that moderate consumers of alcohol tend to be at a lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), potential mechanisms for such an effect are unclear.

The latest critique from the ISFAR considers research into the likelihood of developing kidney disease from consuming alcohol

The latest critique from the ISFAR considers research into the likelihood of developing kidney disease from consuming alcohol

A recent large prospective, population-based, multi-cultural study provides important additional data on the effects of alcohol intake on the initial diagnosis of CKD over many years. The research is based on data from the 'Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities' study and reports the relation of varying levels of alcohol consumption, compared to non-drinking, to the incidence of CKD over a 24-year follow-up period.

Among the strengths of the study are the very large number of subjects (n=3,664) who developed CKD during follow-up, using advanced methods for diagnosing the disease. Only baseline alcohol intake was used as the exposure; type of beverage or pattern of drinking could not be assessed. However, the authors considered multiple appropriate potentially-confounding variables in the analyses, including total energy intake, age, sex, race-centre, income, education level, health insurance, smoking, and physical activity.

In comparison with the 25% of subjects in their analyses who were life-time abstainers, for subjects reporting all levels of alcohol consumption (one drink per week, 2-to-7 drinks per week, 8-to-14 drinks per week, and 15 drinks per week), there was a statistically significant decrease in risk of incident CKD - from a 12% decrease in risk for the lowest category of alcohol intake to a 29% decrease for subjects reporting they consumed 8-to-14 drinks per week.

"Consuming a low or moderate amount of alcohol may lower the risk of developing CKD," the authors conclude. "Therefore, moderate consumption of alcohol may not likely be harmful to the kidneys."

ISFAR members agree that this study supports much earlier research showing a protective effect of moderate drinking on the risk of kidney disease. While mechanisms are not clear, effects on renal vessels that are similar to those described for coronary and cerebrovascular arteries may play a role.

To read the full critique, click here.

These critiques are published with the permission of The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research.

Click here for all of the critiques from the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research


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