Does Alcohol Intake Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease?

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November 9, 2017

Allan S. Brett, MD reviewing Koning SH et al. Kidney Int 2015 May.

In a prospective cohort study, alcohol intake was related inversely to development of CKD.

Moderate alcohol intake might lower cardiovascular risk, according to some epidemiologic studies. But what is the relation between alcohol consumption and chronic kidney disease (CKD)? In this prospective population-based cohort study from the Netherlands, researchers identified 5476 adults (age range, 28–75) with no evidence of CKD and followed them for an average of 10 years. Alcohol intake was assessed at baseline and periodically thereafter.

During follow-up, 16% of participants developed CKD, defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/minute/1.73 m2 or 24-hour albumin excretion >30 mg. In analyses adjusted for potentially confounding variables, alcohol intake was associated inversely with risk for CKD: Compared with nondrinkers, those who drank 1 to 4 drinks monthly, 2 to 7 drinks weekly, 1 to 3 drinks daily, and >3 drinks daily had progressively lower hazard ratios for CKD (0.85, 0.82, 0.71, and 0.60, respectively). This inverse relation persisted in two separate sensitivity analyses: one for changes in drinking frequency during follow-up and one that excluded nondrinkers (to remove bias that might occur if less healthy people avoided alcohol).