Which Alcohol is The Healthiest for Dad’s Gut?

June 16, 2024 9 min read

Which Alcohol is The Healthiest for Dad’s Gut

With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s Dad’s turn to be spoilt rotten. But what are you going to buy him? If your go-to gift is a little tipple, in this guide we explore which alcoholic drinks are better for your gut and offer some healthier gut-inspired gift options.

Content Outline

Introduction

Alternative gut-friendly Father’s Day gift ideas

Summary 

Introduction

Alcohol may not be the healthiest beverage on the planet, but it certainly doesn’t deter people from partaking. After water and tea, beer is the most consumed drink in the world[i] and with the alcohol industry reported to be worth an eye-watering $1.49 trillion globally[ii], our love for alcohol doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

Despite its bad press, in moderation, some drinks may have some health benefits because of the antioxidants they contain. However, there’s no escaping the fact that too much alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your health, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, poor mental health, and cancer. The World Health Organization states that there is no healthy level when it comes to drinking and that it is a “toxic, psychoactive, and dependence-producing substance.[iii]

But alcohol is a popular gift choice. So, before you rush out to buy your Dad his favourite beer, let us take you on a journey of discovery to find the ‘better’ choices for his gut and wider health.

1. Beer

Beer is an ancient drink made from fermenting cereal grains, usually barley, with water, hops, and yeast. It’s the hops in beer that may have some, limited health benefits. They contain phytoestrogens which may have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties[iv].

Oestrogen is one of the main female sex hormones (men make it too) and interestingly, a study found that both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer reduced the severity of menopause symptoms in postmenopausal women. However, the sex hormone profiles didn’t change in either group, alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer, so the benefits are likely associated with the non-alcoholic fraction of the beer. Especially as non-alcoholic beer improved the lipid profiles in the women assigned to the group and lowered blood pressure[v].

But what about Dad? Well, another study found that healthy adult men aged 20 to 57 who drank 330ml of alcoholic beer for 30 days had reduced blood insulin and fasting glucose levels, having a positive impact on insulin resistance[vi].

Yet, these studies used small cohorts, so more research is needed to back up these results. 

2. Wine

Often noted as a sophisticated drink, wine is available in many forms; red, white, rosé, and sparkling. Yet, there’s one that stands out from the crowd in terms of claimed health benefits, and that’s red wine.

Red wine is packed with antioxidants that are linked to health benefits, such as:

  • Resveratrol: protects against cardiovascular disease[vii]
  • Anthocyanins: prevent diabetes and obesity[viii]
  • Catechins: anti-cancer properties[ix]

Despite excessive alcohol consumption being linked to negative health outcomes, there is lots of evidence that shows moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, is protective against cardiovascular disease[x]. The light to moderate consumption of red wine has been put forward as a possible explanation for the “French Paradox”. That is the fact that there is a lower incidence of coronary heart disease amongst the French population despite a high dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fat[xi].

 

Graph 1:The graph above shows the mortality rates from coronary heart disease (CHD) per 100000 people according to place. CHD mortality rates are lowest in France and Spain. (Source: Ferrières, 2004).

Red wine and the gut microbiome

Red wine is also associated with an increased gut microbiota diversity. Red wine is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural compounds found in many foods, including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrains

Fruits like grapes, the main constituent in wine, can contain up to 300 mg of polyphenols per 100 g[xii].

A study by researchers at Kings College, London found that the consumption of red wine increases the α-diversity of the gut microbiome. The study also found that drinking red wine was associated with lower rates of obesity and circulating levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, a factor which was not observed with any other alcohol[xiii].

Your gut microbiome likes to transform polyphenols into beneficial compounds such as short-chain fatty acids that the body can use. Even though red wine contains alcohol, it also contains many polyphenols which feed your gut microbiota, in turn having a positive effect on many of the body’s systems, such as immunity, metabolism, and cardiovascular.

How much red wine is ‘good’ for you?

Before you rush out to buy a bottle, research shows that 0.15 l for women and 0.45 l for men is beneficial for health, reducing inflammation, and atherosclerosis, and improving lipid profiles[xiv]. Other studies state that 1 to 2 drinks per day or half to one glass of red wine is suggested[xv].

3.Spirits

Alcoholic spirits vary in their flavour, strength, and even colour, and if you’ve ever experimented with drinking spirits, you’ll probably know your body can react differently to the various types.

Generally, spirits have a much higher alcohol content than other drinks, like beer and wine, which means they probably have lower polyphenol levels. However, compared to beer, spirits, if drunk neat, have a lower carbohydrate and sugar content, but the reality is, that most people drink them with high-sugar mixers, such as cola.

In a study published in 2009, spirits were shown to have the least benefits on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease[xvi].

Alternative gut-friendly Father’s Day gift ideas

Not convinced alcohol is the perfect gift for your dad or looking for a healthier alternative? Let’s explore some other gift ideas you can give to show your father your appreciation.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, like red wine, is also packed with polyphenols and cocoa is a prebiotic that your gut microbes just love to have a munch on. Although the milk variety may be more palatable for some, dark chocolate can be a ‘healthier’ alternative.

A recent study found that eating 30 g per day of 85% cocoa dark chocolate significantly improved mood compared to 70% cocoa dark chocolate. The researchers attributed this change to the increased diversity in the gut microbiome. Therefore, demonstrates that dark chocolate has a prebiotic effect, that can alter the diversity of the gut, and improve mood[xvii].

Alcohol-free red wine

Alcohol-free red wine is also associated with many of the benefits of alcoholic red wine but without the alcohol content. That’s because the alcohol-free version still has a high polyphenol content.

Chiva-Blanch and Co. demonstrated that alcohol-free red wine could lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The researchers found that although these effects were observed in alcoholised red wine, they were insignificant. So, the blood-pressure-lowering benefits could be linked to the polyphenol content and not alcohol in red wine[xviii].

Layer Origin’s PureHMO® range

If you’re looking for a gift that can support your dad’s health this Father’s Day, look no further than Layer Origin’s PureHMO® range. Each of our products can support balance in the gut which may have benefits on various other aspects of health, including weight management, metabolism, cognition, antioxidant balance, and mood.

Product

Ingredients

Potential benefits

Akkermansia muciniphila Daily Probiotic with PureHMO®

·       Akkermansia muciniphila 100 million CFU

·       2’-Fucosyllactose 250 mg

·       Resistant starch 750 mg

Akkermansia muciniphila has been identified as a next-generation probiotic because it has a proven effectiveness to improve obesity, type 2 diabetes, intestinal inflammation and some cancers in mice[xix].

 

It also strengthens the intestinal barrier by increasing mucin production and promoting the integrity of the barrier lining. These actions can reduce the risk of leaky gut and lead to positive health outcomes[xx].

PureHMO® Prebiotic Powder

·       2’-Fucosyllactose (98%) 1950 mg

2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL) is an example of a human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) naturally present in human breast milk. It is known to balance the gut microflora by feeding and promoting several beneficial probiotics, including Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia and Oscillibacter[xxi].

 

2’-FL can also improve the symptoms of IBS and IBD in adults by increasing bifidogenic and butyrogenic activities[xxii].

PureHMO® IBS Support

·       2’-Fucosyllactose 4000 mg

·       Lacto-N-neotetraose 1000 mg

·       Lactobacillus acidophilus 10 billion CFU

The combination of 2’-FL and LNnT can support normal bowel function in adults with irritable bowel syndrome[xxiii].

SuperHMO® Prebiotic Mix

·       2’-Fucosyllactose 2250 mg

·       Lacto-N-tetraose (LNT) 650 mg

·       Lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) 600 mg

·       6’-Sialyllactose (6’SL) 500 mg

·       3’-Sialyllactose (3’SL) 200 mg

This mix contains 5 major types of HMO known to have health benefits. It has been designed to promote over 100 beneficial bacteria strains through cross-feeding reactions.

 

The SuperHMO® mix contains the sialylated HMOs 3’-SL and 6’-SL which can support cognitive functions[xxiv].

 

If you’re not sure which one is right for you (or your Dad), why not order a sample pack or three? These convenient sample packs are the best way to experiment with the PureHMO® range to see how they work for you.

Explore our shop to see our wider range of gut health products, including the increasingly popular Organic Apple Peel Powder and Simple Reds.

Summary

Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your Dad how much you appreciate him, but at Layer Origin, we believe every day is Father’s Day. So, if you want to find the perfect gift idea to help support your Father’s gut health, we hope we’ve given you plenty of inspiration from a glass of red wine or a bar of dark chocolate, to Layer Origin’s PureHMO® range.

Written by: Leanne Edermaniger, M.Sc. Leanne is a professional science writer who specializes in human health and enjoys writing about all things related to the gut microbiome.    

Sources

[i] Types of alcohol [Internet]. 2024 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/types/#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20after%20water%20and,or%20lower%20concentrations%20of%20alcohol.

[ii] Food Marketing Agency: International Food Marketing [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://greenseedgroup.com/alcohol-drinks-market-size-trends-rtd-alcohol-new-drinks-2021-2022/#:~:text=How%20much%20is%20the%20alcohol,rate%20dipped%20during%20the%20pandemic.

[iii] No level of alcohol consumption is safe for our health [Internet]. World Health Organization; 2023 [cited 2024 Jun 9]. Available from: https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/04-01-2023-no-level-of-alcohol-consumption-is-safe-for-our-health

[iv] Tronina T, Popłoński J, Bartmańska A. Flavonoids as Phytoestrogenic Components of Hops and Beer. Molecules. 2020 Sep 14;25(18):4201. doi: 10.3390/molecules25184201. PMID: 32937790; PMCID: PMC7570471.

[v] Trius-Soler M, Marhuenda-Muñoz M, Laveriano-Santos EP, Martínez-Huélamo M, Sasot G, Storniolo CE, et al. Moderate consumption of beer (with and without ethanol) and menopausal symptoms: Results from a parallel clinical trial in postmenopausal women. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 30;13(7):2278. doi:10.3390/nu13072278

[vi] Nogueira LC, do Rio RF, Lollo PC, Ferreira IMPLVO. Moderate alcoholic beer consumption: The effects on the lipid profile and insulin sensitivity of adult men. Journal of Food Science. 2017 Jun 16;82(7):1720–5. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.13746

[vii] Snopek L, Mlcek J, Sochorova L, Baron M, Hlavacova I, Jurikova T, Kizek R, Sedlackova E, Sochor J. Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. Molecules. 2018 Jul 11;23(7):1684. doi: 10.3390/molecules23071684. PMID: 29997312; PMCID: PMC6099584.

[viii] Lila MA. Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004;2004(5):306-313. doi: 10.1155/S111072430440401X. PMID: 15577194; PMCID: PMC1082894.

[ix] Buljeta I, Pichler A, Šimunović J, Kopjar M. Beneficial Effects of Red Wine Polyphenols on Human Health: Comprehensive Review. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2023 Jan 17;45(2):782-798. doi: 10.3390/cimb45020052. PMID: 36825997; PMCID: PMC9955827.

[x] Castaldo L, Narváez A, Izzo L, Graziani G, Gaspari A, Minno GD, Ritieni A. Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Health. Molecules. 2019 Oct 8;24(19):3626. doi: 10.3390/molecules24193626. PMID: 31597344; PMCID: PMC6804046.

[xi] Ferrières J. The French paradox: lessons for other countries. Heart. 2004 Jan;90(1):107-11. doi: 10.1136/heart.90.1.107. PMID: 14676260; PMCID: PMC1768013.

[xii] Pandey KB, Rizvi SI. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009 Nov-Dec;2(5):270-8. doi: 10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498. PMID: 20716914; PMCID: PMC2835915.

[xiii] 1. Le Roy CI, Wells PM, Si J, Raes J, Bell JT, Spector TD. Red wine consumption associated with increased gut microbiota α-diversity in 3 independent cohorts. Gastroenterology. 2020 Jan;158(1). doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2019.08.024

[xiv] Snopek L, Mlcek J, Sochorova L, Baron M, Hlavacova I, Jurikova T, Kizek R, Sedlackova E, Sochor J. Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. Molecules. 2018 Jul 11;23(7):1684. doi: 10.3390/molecules23071684. PMID: 29997312; PMCID: PMC6099584.

[xv] Cordova AC, Sumpio BE. Polyphenols are medicine: Is it time to prescribe red wine for our patients? Int J Angiol. 2009 Fall;18(3):111-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1278336. PMID: 22477510; PMCID: PMC2903024.

[xvi] Athyros VG, Liberopoulos EN, Mikhailidis DP, Papageorgiou AA, Ganotakis ES, Tziomalos K, et al. Association of drinking pattern and alcohol beverage type with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease in a Mediterranean cohort. Angiology. 2007 Nov 7;58(6):689–97. doi:10.1177/0003319707306146

[xvii] Shin JH, Kim CS, Cha L, Kim S, Lee S, Chae S, Chun WY, Shin DM. Consumption of 85% cocoa dark chocolate improves mood in association with gut microbial changes in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Jan;99:108854. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108854. Epub 2021 Sep 14. PMID: 34530112.

[xviii] Chiva-Blanch G, Urpi-Sarda M, Ros E, Arranz S, Valderas-Martínez P, Casas R, et al. Dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases plasma nitric oxide. Circulation Research. 2012 Sept 28;111(8):1065–8. doi:10.1161/circresaha.112.275636

[xix] Cani, P.D., Depommier, C., Derrien, M. et al. Akkermansia muciniphila: paradigm for next-generation beneficial microorganisms. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 19, 625–637 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-022-00631-9

[xx] Bland J. Intestinal Microbiome, Akkermansia muciniphila, and Medical Nutrition Therapy. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016 Oct;15(5):14-16. PMID: 27980489; PMCID: PMC5145007.

[xxi] Ryan JJ, Monteagudo-Mera A, Contractor N, Gibson GR. Impact of 2'-Fucosyllactose on Gut Microbiota Composition in Adults with Chronic Gastrointestinal Conditions: Batch Culture Fermentation Model and Pilot Clinical Trial Findings. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 14;13(3):938. doi: 10.3390/nu13030938. PMID: 33799455; PMCID: PMC7998190.

[xxii] Ryan JJ, Monteagudo-Mera A, Contractor N, Gibson GR. Impact of 2'-Fucosyllactose on Gut Microbiota Composition in Adults with Chronic Gastrointestinal Conditions: Batch Culture Fermentation Model and Pilot Clinical Trial Findings. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 14;13(3):938. doi: 10.3390/nu13030938. PMID: 33799455; PMCID: PMC7998190.

[xxiii] Palsson OS, Peery A, Seitzberg D, Amundsen ID, McConnell B, Simrén M. Human Milk Oligosaccharides Support Normal Bowel Function and Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Multicenter, Open-Label Trial. Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2020 Dec;11(12):e00276. doi: 10.14309/ctg.0000000000000276. PMID: 33512807; PMCID: PMC7721220.

[xxiv] Cho S, Zhu Z, Li T, Baluyot K, Howell BR, Hazlett HC, Elison JT, Hauser J, Sprenger N, Wu D, Lin W. Human milk 3'-Sialyllactose is positively associated with language development during infancy. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Aug 2;114(2):588-597. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab103. PMID: 34020453; PMCID: PMC8326052.


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