Guard your heart with beer?

Folate in beer may help protect against heart disease

July 11, 2001 - Beer may provide the same "good for your heart" ingredients as fortified grains and green leafy vegetables.


"Folate from beer may ... contribute to the protective effect of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease in population(s) with generally low folate intake from other nutrients," according to to a study by Dr. O. Mayer Jr. and colleagues from Charles University in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Their conclusions were study published in the July issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

The study measured blood levels of folate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B12 in 543 residents of Pilsen, an area with one of the highest rates of beer consumption in the world. The B vitamins they measured are linked to lower levels of homocysteine, a compound in the blood associated with increased heart disease risk.

"Moderate beer consumption may help to maintain the total homocysteine levels in the normal range due to high folate content," the report stated. The findings support earlier research showing that drinking beer regularly for 3 weeks led to a 30% increase in vitamin B6 levels. This vitamin is thought to help break down homocysteine. Drinking red wine or Dutch gin brought only about half that increase, research showed.

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