Pancreatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the pancreas, a gland that supports your health by producing digestive juices and two important hormones. Unless properly treated, this inflammation can seriously damage the gland’s normal function and trigger major health complications. Alcohol in general, and beer in particular, are known for the role they play in the development of pancreatitis. On the other hand, non-alcoholic beer contains substances that may reduce the risks for pancreas inflammation. However, researchers don’t have enough information to identify the best non-alcoholic beer for your pancreas.
Pancreatitis can appear in an acute (short-term) form, as well as a chronic (long-term) form. Acute pancreatitis develops rapidly and goes away in a few days if you receive appropriate medical care. However, the chronic form of the disease lingers, gradually worsens and eventually interferes with normal pancreas function. Most people develop acute pancreas inflammation because they have gallstones in a neighboring structure called the common bile duct. However, many cases also develop as a consequence of ongoing heavy drinking. The typical cause of chronic pancreatitis is a pattern of heavy drinking that remains in effect for years or decades. In some cases, a bout of acute pancreatitis can also lead to chronic problems in the gland.
The Role of Beer
Excessive consumption of any alcoholic beverage can promote the onset of pancreatitis. However, beer appears to take the crown as the most dangerous form of alcohol for your pancreas. That’s because, unlike other forms of alcohol, beer directly encourages the release of chemicals called enzymes inside your pancreas. In turn, the elevated presence of these enzymes increases the odds that the gland will become inflamed. Alcohol abuse should be treated before irreparable damage is done.
Potential Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Beer
Non-alcoholic beer is made by brewing beer normally, then removing the alcohol from the finished product. While it no longer contains meaningful amounts of alcohol, it still contains literally thousands of other substances, including four specific chemicals:
- Resveratrol (normally more associated with wine)
- Ellagic acid
These four chemicals have one thing in common: the ability to protect your pancreas from the development of serious inflammation. They apparently achieve this goal by interfering with the release of pancreatic enzymes and combating the effects of a cell-damaging process called oxidative stress. All told, this means that consumption of non-alcoholic beer may help protect the health of your pancreas. However, if you’re eager to find the best non-alcoholic beer for protection from pancreatitis, you’ll have to be patient. Scientists still haven’t identified all the chemicals found in alcoholic or non-alcoholic products, and some currently undiscovered substances may have an important impact on your pancreatitis risks. Resources National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Pancreatitis https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/pancreatitis World Journal of Gastroenterology: Alcohol Consumption on Pancreatic Diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3574589/ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Beer and Its Non-Alcoholic Compounds – Role in Pancreatic Exocrine Secretion, Alcoholic Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Carcinoma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872306/