Benefits and hazards of beer drinking are being discussed for quite a long time. The brewers one and all assure us, that beer is the healthiest drink in the world, and consuming it we prolong our lives. Their position is clear, as they are interested in their product being bought and drunk as much as possible. So what sort of drink is it?
Public conscience considers the beer a low-alcohol and absolutely harmless drink. It is really made of a very healthy product â€“ barley, which contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. But the wort contains bacteria inducing fermentation, and they feed on this nice product, using it for growth and reproduction.
So what does the beer consist of?
The beer is an alcoholic drink, which contains a lot of compounds, forming during the fermentation from plant raw material. The main beer components are water (91-93 percent), carbohydrates (1,5-4,5 percent), ethyl alcohol (3-7 percent and more) and nitrogen-containing matters (0,2-0,65 percent). The rest (minor) ingredients are found in low concentration. Carbohydrates containing in beer consist of 75-85 percent of dextrin (product of partial splitting of polysaccharides).
Alcohols. Beer contains ethanol. Mechanisms of toxic action of ethanol and the other beer components are interrelated. To that ethanol is able to modify or increase the toxic effect of some minor compounds. In connection with that it is necessary to admit a new sort of beer with high content of alcohol â€“ up to 12 percent, called strong beer. Consuming such beer in the same amount as usual can no doubt lead to even more negative consequences, stipulated by toxic action of alcohol in combination with the other biologically active compounds.
In the process of fermentation the higher alcohols (propyl, butyl, amyl alcohol) and ethers (ethyl formate, butyl acetate etc) are formed. These substances influence upon the taste and smell of the beer, but they are exactly the components, which vodka gets traditionally purified from. The content of higher alcohols in beer is usually about 50-100 mg/l.
There is a difference between various sorts of beer. The genuine beer consists only of four components: malt wort, water, brewer's yeast and common hop. The technology of natural fermentation needs 14 days and has a short best-before date. The present-day beer contains a lot of chemicals indeed. It is harmful not only because of alcohol, but because it is produced in a fast and non-natural way. Besides, there have been barbiturates and a narcotic substance identical to one, containing in hamp, found in some sorts of beer.
Having a strong diuretic action, the beer makes the organism excrete the necessary â€śbuilding materialsâ€ť â€“ proteins, as well as fats, carbohydrates and microelements, especially potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, what is in fact a catastrophe for a growing body. Potassium deficiency leads to heartbeat arrhythmia, dry skin, pain in calves and weekness in legs. Magnesium deficiency provokes changes in mood: the person suffers from irritability, tearfulness and has a bad sleep. Excreting vitamin C depresses immunity and causes brain hypoxia, from which the intellect suffers. Low level of vitamin C also goes to cold-related diseases, which occur more often.
Like any alcoholic drink, the beer makes drunk. On the average one bottle of beer is equal 50 grams of vodka. This amount is enough to kill about 5 thousand neurons in your brain. Besides 1,5-8 percent of alcohol, the beer contains also 5-8 percent of extractive substances. Among them are maltose, enable lipopexia; valeric acid â€“ a well-known sedative; alkaloid himulin; essential oils; vitamin B complex and other nitrous and mineral compounds. Together they act so, that beer really helps to relax and have a rest.
The beer takes the most negative effect on sex hormones level in the organism of men and women. The official science found out this phenomenon only in 1999. It turned out, that hop microstrobiles, which make the beer having a bitterish taste, contain 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN) â€“ the substance belonging to phytoestrogen class (â€śphytoâ€ť â€“ a plant, â€śestrogenâ€ť â€“ a female sex hormone).
Such components contain in some other plants, for example, in red clover and lucerne. Folk medicine knew about this component long ago. That is why shepherds kept vigilant watch over the cattle and didnâ€™t let animals eat this plant too much. Otherwise it may induce infertility, what happened in Australia, where sheep were pastured purely on red clover. 8-PN is mentioned to exceed all other phytoestrogens in 10-100 times by hormonal activity, which is close to the activity of human hormone â€“ estrogen. Since the year 1999 this fact is a question of many discussions in special scientific literature, but for the reading public this information still remains practically restricted.
The beer admirer gradually accustoms himself not only to usual inebriation induced by alcohol, but also to its sedative effect. He wants to repeat this nice relaxation again and again, and this way the beer becomes the necessary part of rest and relaxation. The doses have to be increased. Beer drinking forms a bad habit and beer components build in metabolism like real drugs do. As soon as beer is practically not considered to be alcohol, its overconsumption doesnâ€™t alarm, but it leads to alcoholism. At that the beer alcoholism develops far more quickly, than alcoholism caused by vodka. Taste, sedative components and low percent of alcohol make the beer addiction a serious problem to fight against. Therefore the addictology proves beer alcoholism to be a hard-to-cure variant of alcoholism. The scientific research found out, that beer affects the human body in more degree, than other alcoholic drinks.