Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Reduced by Drinking Alcohol

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

The alcohol can be in wine, beer, or distilled spirits (liquor). 


I.   The Disease

II.  The Study

III. Resources

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.
    • 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 if the patient doesn’t get regular kidney dialysis.

II. Study: Chronic Kidney Disease

chronic kidney disease

Researchers wanted to know if there’s a link between drinking alcohol and CKD. So they studied 9,112 Japanese men age 40 to 55.

There were 79,099 person-years of the study, During that time, 1,253 of the men got CKD. Some had just over one and one-half drinks and almost five drinks per day. That was on four to seven days per week. Compared to non-drinkers, they 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.

How could drinkers have a greatly reduced risk of CKD? By having between one and one-half and almost five drinks per day more frequently, rather than less frequently.

This was drinking at much higher levels than advised in the US. But it was linked with lower risks of the CKD. This reflects the fact that official guidelines are political rather than scientific in nature.

More facts about CKD are on the website of the National Kidney Foundation.  Also of the American Kidney Fund.