Moderate alcohol consumption has been consistently associated with beneficial health effects on cardiovascular disease. In contrast, the association between alcohol consumption and renal dysfunction is less clear.
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 11 023 initially healthy men who provided blood samples 14 years after a baseline assessment of alcohol consumption. We categorized alcohol consumption into 1 or fewer, 2 to 4, 5 to 6, and 7 or more drinks per week. The main outcome measures were elevated creatinine levels (defined as ≥1.5 mg/dL [≥133 μmol/L]) and reduced estimated glomerular filtration rates (defined as ≤55 mL/min). We used logistic regression to calculate multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
After 14 years, 473 men (4.3%) had elevated creatinine levels and 1296 (11.8%) had reduced glomerular filtration rates. Compared with men who consumed no more than 1 drink per week, men who consumed 2 to 4 drinks weekly had a multivariable-adjusted OR of 1.04 (95% CI, 0.81-1.32), men who consumed 5 to 6 drinks per week had an OR of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.68-1.25), and men who consumed at least 7 drinks weekly had an OR of 0.71 (95% CI, 0.55-0.92) (P = .01 for trend across categories). Similar associations were observed between alcohol consumption and decreased glomerular filtration rates. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cholesterol level did not attenuate these effects.
In this large cohort of apparently healthy men, alcohol consumption was not associated with an increased risk of renal dysfunction. Instead, these data suggest an inverse relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of renal dysfunction.