Researchers in the well-known “Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease” (PREVEND) study observed that alcohol intake lowered risk of CKD in both men and women. This May 2015 study is published in Kidney International. Participants in the study were observed over a period of 10 years. CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) lower than 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and/or urinary albumin excretion greater than 30 mg per 24 h.
Compared with non-drinkers, those who drank the most alcohol had about a 67% decreased risk of CKD. CKD risk for moderate and occasional drinkers was also lower than for non-drinkers.
This relationship was observed among subgroups including those based on age, sex, smoking status, presence of hypertension, and high cholesterol. The authors indicated that it is premature “to draw any firm conclusions regarding alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of CKD.” Nevertheless, there are “no grounds to discourage light to moderate alcohol consumption at least in terms of its renal effects.”
This new study adds further evidence that alcohol intake may reduce the risk of developing CKD. The study, while certainly not perfect, includes men and women, a relatively large sample size, extended follow-up, use of proven measures to assess kidney function, validation of self-report of alcohol intake, and appropriate recommendations.
Nearly all prior studies suggest that alcohol intake may be protective against loss of kidney function among the general population. These findings are reported from around the world, including the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Australia, China, and the United States. Findings have been quite consistent, with beneficial effects observed among men and women. The evidence is supported by a large number of studies in cardiovascular disease showing similar relationships.
Before uncorking that champaign, see our upcoming post about a recent study that found alcohol intake did not lower risk of CKD in men, and also speak with your doctor.