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How does Beer work?

Beer is thought to help prevent heart disease by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good cholesterol." Also, the vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) contained in beer can help lower homocysteine levels, a chemical considered to be one of the risk factors for heart disease.

Are there safety concerns?

Beer is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in moderation. This translates to two or fewer 12 ounce glasses a day. Drinking more than this at one sitting is POSSIBLY UNSAFE and can cause a lot of side effects, including: flushing, confusion, trouble controlling emotions, blackouts, loss of coordination, seizures, drowsiness, trouble breathing, hypothermia, low blood sugar, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, irregular heartbeat, and others.

Long-term use can lead to alcohol dependence and can cause many serious side effects, including: malnutrition, memory loss, mental problems, heart problems, liver failure, swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas, cancers of the digestive track, and others.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Alcohol is LIKELY UNSAFE to drink during pregnancy. It can cause birth defects and other serious harm to the unborn infant. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy, especially during the first two months, is associated with significant risk of miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as developmental and behavioral disorders after birth. Don't drink alcohol if you are pregnant.

Alcohol is also LIKELY UNSAFE to drink when breast-feeding. Alcohol passes into breast milk and can cause abnormal development of skills that involve both mental and muscular coordination, such as the ability to turn over. Alcohol can also disturb the infant's sleep pattern. Despite a rumor to the contrary, alcohol also seems to reduce milk production.

Asthma: There have been occasional reports of asthma triggered by drinking beer.

Gout: Using alcohol can make gout worse.

Heart conditions: While there is some evidence that drinking beer in moderation might help to prevent congestive heart failure, beer is harmful when used by someone who already has this condition. Using alcohol can make chest pain and congestive heart failure worse.

High blood pressure: Drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day can increase blood pressure and make high blood pressure worse.

High levels of blood fats called triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia): Drinking alcohol can make this condition worse.

Trouble sleeping (insomnia): Drinking alcohol can make insomnia worse.

Liver disease: Drinking alcohol can make liver disease worse.

Neurological conditions: Drinking alcohol can make certain disorders of the nervous system worse.

A condition of the pancreas called pancreatitis: Drinking alcohol can make pancreatitis worse.

Stomach ulcers or a type of heartburn called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Drinking alcohol can make these conditions worse.

A blood condition called porphyria: Alcohol use can make porphyria worse.

Mental problems: Drinking three or more drinks of alcohol per day can make mental problems worse and reduce thinking skills.

Surgery: Beer can slow down the central nervous system. There is a concern that combining beer with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery might slow the central nervous system down too much. Stop drinking beer at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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