Kidney cleanse with wine? OK not quite, but some interesting studies are coming out that may suggest other benefits for your kidneys and having some of this fine fermented beverage…

Whoa! hang on a second here, I thought wine was bad for me? You must be thinking I’ve lost my mind right about now.

I think between the “is coffee good or bad” debate and the “is alcohol good or bad” debate I could write articles till the cows come home. Recently, researchers have found that in SOME cases drinking specific alcohol can have health benefits. 

In general we know alcohol is not great for the kidneys, I think we can all agree on that one. It can lead to increased blood pressure and that is the second leading cause of kidney disease.

Our kidneys have a balance when it comes to fluids. When that delicate balance is disrupted by the effects of alcohol it can lead to issues. You see alcohol leads to increased urination which results in dehydration. When this happens it makes it challenging for the kidneys to function properly, our kidney cells can become damaged and in turn change the function and structure of the kidneys. 

However, new data shows us a different view. Data collected between 2003 and 2006 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination, done on almost 6,000 people, about 1,000 of which had chronic kidney disease, the findings were interesting. This particular study showed that people who drank less than one glass of wine each day had 29 percent lower risk of cardiovascular issues than those who drank no wine.  With high numbers (in the US it is 26 million) suffering from kidney disease they are at higher risk of cardiovascular problems. 

So why does wine help? Speculation (this is not concrete), is that moderate drinking is associated with lower levels of protein in the urine. The progression of kidney disease has been linked to higher levels of protein found in the urine, so this conclusion makes sense. 

Now I’m not saying to go out and down a bottle of your favourite vintage, notice the stated less than one glass, perhaps half a glass in the evening would do?   The data is inconclusive as to white or red being more beneficial (although white has less beneficial properties and higher sugar count), it is suspected that red wine is more beneficial especially due to higher anti-oxidant content (resveratrol found in the skin of grapes) and of course being linked to a healthy heart in other studies gives it an edge up on its paler counterpart.

So here’s to enjoying a nice glass (or half) of organic red. Cheers!