Women who have more than two alcoholic drinks a week -- particularly nonlight beer -- appear to be at increased risk of developing the skin condition psoriasis.  The cohort study of almost 83,000 nurses -- over 1,000 of whom had cases of incident psoriasis -- found that among women who consumed 2.3 or more alcoholic drinks per week, the relative risk (the ratio of the risk of disease among those exposed to a risk factor to the risk among those not exposed, in this case a RR >1 indicates that there was a higher risk for psoriasis in the drinking group)  for psoriasis was 1.72 according to Abrar A. Qureshi, MD, of Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues.   Qureshi and co-authors reported their findings in the December Archives of Dermatology.

A few retrospective and case-control studies have suggested a possible link between alcohol use and psoriasis, particularly in men, the researchers noted.    To see if women's risk of the autoimmune skin disease was associated with alcohol, Qureshi's group analyzed data from the longitudinal Nurses' Health Study II, which began enrolling women in 1989 and periodically questioned them about health and health behaviors.

In 2005, 82,869 participants responded to a questionnaire asking whether they had ever been given a diagnosis of psoriasis; 2,430 women reported that they had.Follow-up for the current analysis began in 1991, the first year for which there was information regarding alcohol intake. During the ensuing years, there were 1,069 incident cases of psoriasis, which were included in the current analysis.

The risk for psoriasis among women who used alcohol remained significant after adjustment for variables including age, body mass index, and physical activity.   In addition, the risk for psoriasis increased with greater alcohol intake.  The excess risk for psoriasis among women who drank five or more nonlight beers per week was 1.53%.

When the investigators repeated the analysis for those women whose diagnosis of psoriasis was confirmed using the detailed Psoriasis Screening Tool, the risk among those who consumed five or more nonlight beers was 2.3 times higher than nondrinkers.    In contrast, there was no significant increase among women who drank other types of alcohol.

The investigators hypothesized that some component in beer -- specifically barley, which contains gluten -- may be responsible for the increased risk, and that more grain is used to manufacture full-strength beer.The link to gluten in beer was supported by the observation that some patients with psoriasis appear to be sensitive to gluten and improve on a gluten-free diet, they noted.

Limitations of the study included reliance on patient recall for a diagnosis of psoriasis, and that the cohort was well-educated and therefore not entirely representative of the entire cohort of women in the Nurses' Health Study.

Source:  MedPage Today



Excellent! The gluten link could be spot on. Increased intestinal permeability is linked to both ethanol and gluten. Psoriasis occurs frequently with increased intestinal permeability. Unfortunately there is a dirth of credible research in this area.

Thank you for your article. We all know how unhealthy alcohol can be and I'm not surprised to learn that it can cause skin condition. I was told that in Eastern medicine, skin issues were associated to poor liver functioning. This sure would make sense. I'm amazed at how every organ in our body plays a crucial part in healthy functioning.

Great article. I have a sensitivity to gluten and it causes my eczema to flare up. I have also been told that a yeast allergy may be a trigger so it is highly likely with beer and other gluten based foods such as bread.


The beginning of the post lead me to believe that the conclusion of the study was going to be that alcohol itself was the problem.

I was glad to see the suggestion of gluten possibly being the culprit as as soon as I saw that beer was the common dominator, I immediately wondered about that.

The studies on women who drink other types of alcohol at the same frequency and not having an increased incidence of psoriasis would seem to support that.

Gluten seems to have so many subclinical effects in so many people and I know I feel and performed better after I eliminated if from my diet. More anecdotal evidence but it works for me.

Thanks for posting.

Women vulnerable to the skin syndrome psoriasis may wish for putting down the stout and reach for a light beer.

Its not surprising to me that drinking beer can lead to a greater chance of developing psoriasis. What surprises me is that with all the known dangers of drinking beer or any other alcoholic drink, people keep drinking.

I'm glad I found this article. Gluten in the regular beer makes total sense.Thats what i'm finding to be true elsewhere when it comes to gluten in products that affect eczema sufferers.

good article. I think the habit of consuming alcohol is not good, I better not take it at all. And I think we can replace the function and efficacy of alcoholic beverages with other types of non-alcoholic beverages. thank you

Great Article. This is actually a big concern for Psoriasis patients in general. While leading a team of Medical Science Liaisons in Australia working on Psoriasis we worked with a number of physicians who were looking at depression rates with Psoriasis patients and the increase rate due to alcohol intake.

Interesting post. I wonder if these findings may also apply to adults who suffer from eczema?

Is this only affecting women? The study seem to be limited only to women. There were no comparison analysis conducted to men or was there.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There have been other studies suggesting a link between alcohol and psoriasis in men. This particular study focused on women.

One item that was left out was the type of alcohol that was used in the studies, and if the women involved have any type of food allergy.

For example, if a woman were to be allergic to rice, and she drank a certain well-known brand of beer that is brewed using rice, then it is possible that the allergy could manifest as a skin irritation. Were any other anomalies noted like increased heart rate or asthma noted during the testing?

Increased intestinal permeability (also called leaky gut) is possibly the condition that links alcohol to psoriasis. The research explaining the link does exist: alcohol and leaky gut and leaky gut and psoriasis. Beer makes it a perfect storm for having a psoriasis flare up: alcohol opens the tight junctions of the intestinal mucosa and gluten contained in beer crosses to the blood stream and causes autoimmune/inflammatory reaction.

I was told that in Eastern medicine, skin issues were associated to poor liver functioning. This sure would make sense. Psoriasis occurs frequently with increased intestinal permeability.

Alcohol can worsen the effectiveness of treatment for psoriasis. If you drink, do it moderately or avoid it if necessary for best results in coping with the problem.

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