Female Beer Drinkers Run Higher Risk for Psoriasis

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Female beer drinkers may be at a higher risk for psoriasis according Dr. Abrar Qureshi of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who looked at alcohol consumption in women.

In certain cases psoriasis risk is 72% higher in women drinking beer

The study examined the drinking habits of more than 80,000 US nurses over an average of 14 years, during which 1.4% developed psoriasis. Women who drank an average of 2.3 or more alcoholic drinks a week were 72% more likely to develop the condition. For specific types of drinks, women who drank five or more non-light beers a week were found to be 76% more at risk.

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The report determined “Non-light beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk for psoriasis, suggesting that certain non-alcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new-onset psoriasis. One of these components may be the starch source used in making beer. Beer is one of the few non-distilled alcohol beverages that use a starch source for fermentation, which is commonly barley.”

Barley and other such starches contain gluten, which some psoriasis patients are sensitive to. Light beers uses less grain than normal or stronger beers. So a connection between such gluten-starches and psoriasis may explain the increase in risk for new on-set cases of women developing psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that happens on the skin’s surface when the immune system sends out wrong signals that speed up the development of skin cells.

"Women with a high risk of psoriasis may consider avoiding higher intake of non-light beer. “We suggest conducting further investigations into the potential mechanisms of non-light beer inducing new-onset psoriasis," the authors concluded.

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