Drinking regular beer several times a week may up a woman’s risk of developing psoriasis

Women who drink regular beer might be at higher risk for developing psoriasis, according to a new study released Monday in the Archives of Dermatology.

Researchers looked at drinking habits among 83,000 women age 27 to 44 who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. From that group, they analyzed 1,069 cases of psoriasis that occurred in a 14-year follow-up period.

Women who had an average 2.3 drinks or more per week had a 72% greater risk of having psoriasis than women who didn’t drink. But when various types of alcohol were assessed, there was a higher risk for the disease among women who drank regular beer. Drinking light beer, red or white wine, or liquor were not linked with a risk of psoriasis.

Women who drank at least five regular beers a week were 1.8 times more apt to contract psoriasis than women who did not drink.

Why beer? Researchers believe the stronger link may have to do with the fact that beer uses starch for fermentation--usually barley. Wine uses fruit, and although liquors such as vodka use starch for fermentation, typically that starch has been separated from the liquor during the distillation process.

Barley contains gluten, which may be linked with psoriasis, since those with the disease may have a dormant gluten sensitivity. Light beer’s lower grain content might explain the fact that it wasn’t associated with psoriasis.

In the study, the authors noted that women who have a high risk of developing psoriasis might think about not knocking back too many regular beers per week.

-- Jeannine Stein / Los Angeles Times