Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Reduced by Drinking Alcohol

The risk of chronic kidney disease is greatly reduced by drinking alcohol. 


I.   The Disease

II.  The Study

III. Resources

The alcohol can be in wine, beer, or spirits. Spirits are vodka, whiskey, gin, Scotch, rye, bourbon, rum, etc.

I. The Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious condition. The kidneys don’t work right. This can cause many medical problems.

  • High levels of body wastes in the blood.
  • Anemia or low blood cell count.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Weak bones.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Heart and blood vessel disease.

Kidney failure causes death if the patient doesn’t receive a kidney transplant or obtain regular kidney dialysis.

II. The Study

chronic kidney diseaseTo study drinking and the risk of getting CKD, researchers studied 9,112 Japanese men age 40 to 55.

During the 79,099 person-years of the study, 1,253 of the men got CKD. Compared to non-drinkers, men who had between just over one and one-half drinks and almost five drinks per drinking day on four to seven days per week had greatly lower risk of getting CKD.

The Link

The link between the quantity consumed per drinking day and getting CKD was U-shaped. Those who had about five or more drinks per drinking day had risk levels about as high non-drinkers.

Similar categories of quantity per drinking day were examined. The risks of CKD were lower in the four to seven drinking days per week group than in the one to three drinking days per week group.

Thus, having between one and one-half and almost five drinks per day more frequently, rather than less frequently, was linked with a greatly reduced risk of CKD.

That is, it was drinking at much higher levels than recommended in the US was linked with lower risks of the kidney disease. This reflects the fact that official guidelines are political rather than scientific in nature.

More information about CKD is on the websites of the National Kidney Foundation  and the American Kidney Fund.

III. Resources

Popular Resources

Films Human Sci. Chronic Kidney Disease. Are You at Risk? eVideo NY: Films Media, 2011.

National Kidney Disease Education Program. Chronic Kidney Disease. What Does It Mean for Me? Bethesda: The Program, 2010.

National Kidney Disease Education Program. Eating Right for Kidney Health. Bethesda: The Program, 2011.

Scientific Research

Metcalfe, W. How does early CKD progress? Neph Dial Transplant, 2007, 22 (suppl 9): ix26-ix30. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfm446

Orlando, L.A., et al.  The CKD model. BMC Med Info Decis Mak, 2011, 11:41   doi:10.1186/1472-6947-11-41

Quigley, R. Chronic kidney disease. Int J Ped., 2012, 2012, Article ID  943904.


Sato, K.  Drinking pattern and risk of chronic kidney disease. Am J Neph, 2014, 40(6), 516-522.