Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beer and Pancreatic Cancer? Please say it isn't so.

I never miss an issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). Normally these sorts of wishy washy articles never get mentioned; especially when the ending states "need to be further evaluated". So you are not actually going to give us an answer. I know science asks more questions but don't push it.

Anyways.. one of the big complications of alcoholism - along with loss of friends, money and life - is pancreatic cancer. However some studies have shown that alcohol alone does not cause pancreatic inflammation. Also not good news is that beer drinkers have a higher risk of developing pancreatitis when compared to wine or spirit drinkers. But don't worry the risk only really jumps up if you drink more than 14 beers a week. It is thought that the greater amounts antioxidants in wine may protect you from pancreatic damage.

Back to the IJERPH article, which states that beer also contains antioxidants that can help prevent pancreatitis. This article mentioned that beer and wine both contain resveratrol but they never provided referencing proof. This is not true, at least not yet. The super antioxidant resveratrol is primarily found in red wine. For the non cork dorks you can also find it in peanuts and most small dark berries. Sadly this factual oversight ruins about 1/2 of the IJERPH article. Beer does contain the strong antioxidants quercetin (so do apples), catechins (like but not the same as green tea) and ellagic acid (raspberries). In animal studies all of these antioxidants protected against pancreatitis. So good for beer.

In conclusion don't read the full IJERPH article it is not very good. It also has a crappy acronym; even if I did just make it up. While unknown non-alcoholic compounds in beer can cause pancreatitis; other antioxidant compounds in beer can protect against pancreatitis. Both real and imaginary. Oddly they never mentioned the uber antioxidant in xanthohumol from hops.

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