Is alcohol/beer good or bad for kidney disease? – Doctor Answers

Alcohol is one of the most abused drugs in the world. Many kidney patients also consume alcohol and that makes them wonder “is alcohol good or bad for kidney disease”?

There are many myths among people about the benefits of alcohol for kidney disease. Often it is projected as if alcohol/beer is beneficial in some kidney patients. This is not true.

In this article, I will write about the effects of drinking alcohol on kidney disease patients.

Why alcohol is bad for kidneys?

Your kidneys are responsible to filter the toxins accumulated in the blood. Kidneys are also responsible for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. 

When a person drinks alcohol, it affects the kidney in different ways. First of all, alcohol is a substance that is harmful by itself which the kidneys along with the liver are responsible to expel out of the body.

Secondly, alcohol can also damage the cells of the kidneys which makes the kidneys less efficient in filtering the toxins present in the blood.

Lastly, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it flushes out the water in your body, making you urinate more and leaving the body dehydrated which causes imbalances in the electrolytes and increasing the risk of kidney stones and other complications.

Is alcohol/beer ok for kidney disease?

The simple answer is a big NO.

Alcohol has adverse effects on almost every organ of the body. It cannot be a remedy for any disease as the dangers are far too many. Alcohol can also cause damage to the liver and the kidneys even in a person with healthy kidneys. 

When someone has a kidney disease like CKD, the function of the kidneys is already decreased, and drinking too much alcohol might increase the risk of causing further damage to the kidneys.

Drinking alcohol excessively can also have an effect on blood pressure. An individual who usually drinks alcohol in excess is likely to have elevated blood pressure. 

Action of certain medicines for hypertension or high blood pressure could also be hindered by the consumption of alcohol. Chronic high blood pressure is one of the major reasons for kidney disease. 

Drinking alcohol does not possess any nutritional benefit for kidney disease hence it is not needed in your daily life.

For people who have kidney disease along with type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol can be dangerous as too much alcohol can cause a dramatic drop in your blood sugar levels, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.

Alcohol in Chronic Kidney Disease

CKD is a disease without cure. CKD is a condition that has an impact on a person’s daily life.
The diet of a CKD patient has to be managed carefully to avoid aggravating the condition of the kidneys even more.

If you are under a certain medication for CKD, you might be required to limit or avoid alcohol completely, therefore it’s necessary to keep your doctor in the loop.

Some types of alcohol may contain a higher amount of potassium in comparison to others.  Patients suffering from CKD may be recommended to follow a low potassium diet by their doctor hence all of the factors need to be discussed with your dietitian.

Is alcohol/beer good for kidney stones?

No, it isn’t. It is a popular myth, but like all myths it isn’t true.

First of all, a kidney stone is formed inside the kidneys, it could either be tiny in size or as big as a small rock. Kidney stones could be formed due to different reasons, but the most common ones are made out of oxalate and calcium.

Kidney stones are removed out of the body through urination. However, if the stone is too big to pass from your ureter, medication would be needed in order to relax the muscles of the ureter or other medication for the pain. 

In fact, drinking alcohol or beer can put a person at risk for the formation of kidney stones. Since drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, this can result in the development of kidney stones. 

Since alcohol is a diuretic, it signals the body to flush out the water through the kidneys. 

Alcohol can also cause the cells in your body to hold on to water which results in bloated and less volume of water in the blood, leaving the kidneys to filter thicker blood and putting the kidneys at risk for developing stones from the toxic chemicals present in the blood. 

Summary

Regularly drinking alcohol for kidney disease patients would not be advisable.

Drinking alcohol in excess can put the kidneys at risk for developing kidney diseases such as CKD and kidney stones. 

People who indulge in drinking alcohol regularly are at higher risk of developing CKD in comparison to those who drink alcohol in moderation. 

Drinking alcohol has an impact on different organs of the body. A drink once in a while would not be dangerous.

However, drinking excessively every day is not only damaging for the kidneys but also is detrimental for the liver and blood pressure.

For kidney disease patients, make sure to consult your nephrologist or your renal nutritionist to understand the risks correctly.

4 thoughts on “Is alcohol/beer good or bad for kidney disease? – Doctor Answers”

  1. Can I have biscuits for evening tea being a diabetic & now got into Urinary Tract Infection. Creatinine & Cholesterol too is on da higher side. For dinner, I had prepared soyabean, is it ok to have. Secondly, can I consume walnuts

    Reply
    • Low salt and sugar biscuits like Marie biscuits are ok. Nuts are high in potassium and phosphorus. Can consume in small quantities if these are under control.

      Reply

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