Beer and Kidney Stones – Is it Good or Bad
Drinking Good quality beer in moderate quantities does not increase chances of Kidney stone formation .
Beer is a slightly alcoholic beverage generally produced or brewed by slow fermentation of malted cereal grains, like barley, and flavored with hops; which is a twining vine belonging to the mulberry family. It also includes ingredients like yeast, water, and sometimes fruits and spices are used. The yeast converts the sugars present in malt into alcohol and hops gives a bitter flavor to the beer.
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Kidneys are excretory organs of human body that remove unessential byproducts found floating in blood resulting from the body’s metabolic process and add it to the urine produced. The human urine hence constitute of many minerals which when allowed to suspend in urine for a long time, and in the absence of natural substances that normally prevent crystallization of these minerals, gradually build up to begin forming kidney stones. When the crystals formed increase in size, they are capable of obstructing normal flow of urine, and this obstruction normally occurs in the ureters. As a result, urine is accumulated and when the accumulation goes beyond certain limits, it can lead to distended kidneys. Thus, the individual will not only experience pain while urinating, but also pain due to pressure placed on the organs and structures surrounding the swollen kidneys.
Kidney stones can be of various types and calcium-based stones are the most common ones people suffer from. Calcium deposits in highly concentrated urine can encourage development of kidney stones by combining with other salts and minerals found normally in urine. Under normal conditions, calcium combines with other compounds in the intestine and is excreted in stools. But consumption of a diet high in calcium or taking calcium supplements in excess can cause calcium levels to rise in blood resulting in calcium deposits to appear in urine.
Some people hold an opinion that drinking beer can help in preventing excess calcium from getting deposited in the urinary tract system. It is also believed that beer helps in flushing out the kidney stone from the system effortlessly and painlessly by widening the urinary tubes and increasing the flow of urine. To minimize risk from drinking beer, consumption should be in moderation for excess drinking can lead to other medical problems as well as obesity.
But, again, there are some who have the opinion that beer is high in oxalates thereby actually promoting the development of kidney stones. This may be true to a certain extent for oxalates can form during the fermentation process where the brewers yeast releases them into the beer. The customary methods followed while brewing beer only allow light filtering process, thus permitting yeast to pass through and enter into the barrels where it is stored. This naturally increases the oxalate levels in beer. However, at the present time, prepared beer is highly filtered. Oxalates form a fine layer of cloudy haze on brewed beer. Upon freezing, these turn into crystals along with other crystal forming compounds which are removed by means of a filter. This filtering process also removes yeast, the substance that initiates oxalate formation. This makes beer drinking entirely safe for those who are prone to developing calcium oxalate kidney stones. However, drinking should be done in limited quantities.