We can now toast the health of our intestinal microbiota with a beer! The results of a recent study highlight the unsuspected benefits of this beverage for our bacterial flora. This news is likely to delight many people.

A clinical trial linking beer and microbiota

A team of Portuguese scientists has set up a clinical study to show the potentially beneficial effects of beer on health. More specifically, on the intestinal microbiota. After selecting 22 male subjects, they are divided into two groups. After selecting 22 male subjects, they are divided into two groups. In the study, they had to consume the following daily at dinner time over a period of 4 weeks:

  • either a 33 cL alcoholic beer (5.3%),
  • or a 33 cL non-alcoholic beer.

Blood and faecal samples are collected at the beginning and end of the study. The gut microbiome is analysed by 16S RNA gene sequencing.

Similar effects between beer with and without alcohol

The results published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicate that the effects of beer with or without alcohol were similar.

Indeed, their consumption positively modulated the gut microbiota, increasing bacterial diversity (associated with positive health outcomes).

Furthermore, it turns out that contrary to popular belief, beer with or without alcohol did not lead to:

  • an increase in body weight,
  • an increase in body fat,
  • significant changes in cardiometabolic biomarkers.

Both drinks also tended to increase the activity of faecal alkaline phosphatase, a marker associated with good intestinal health. Indeed, it plays a role in the detoxification of LPS and in the control of intestinal inflammation.

According to the researchers, these benefits are attributed to the polyphenols contained in the beer and not to the alcohol, which, it should be remembered, can have deleterious effects on health.


A further, larger study is planned soon, this time including women in the panel, to confirm or refute these results.

To be continued…



Picture: Freepik

MARQUES C, DINIS L, BARREIROS MOTA I, MORAIS J, ISMAEL S, PEREIRA-LEAL JB, CARDOSO J, RIBEIRO P, BEATO H, RESEND M, ESPIRITO SANTO C, CORTEZ AP, ROSARIO A, PESTANA D, TEIXEIRA D, FARIA A, CLHAU C. Impact of beer and nonalcoholic beer consumption on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. J Agric Food Chem, 2022