Alcohol Consumption and Incident Kidney Disease: Results From the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Emily A. Hu, Mariana Lazo, Sarah D. Rosenberg, Morgan E. Grams, Lyn M. Steffen, Josef Coresh, Casey M. Rebholz

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6 Scopus citations


Objective(s): Moderate alcohol consumption has been found to be associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction, which share similar risk factors and pathophysiology with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, there is inconsistent evidence on the association between alcohol consumption and CKD. Design and Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of 12,692 participants aged 45-64 years from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. We categorized participants into 6 alcohol consumption categories: never drinkers, former drinkers, ≤1 drink per week, 2 to 7 drinks per week, 8 to 14 drinks per week, and ≥15 drinks per week based on food frequency questionnaire responses at visit 1 (1987-1989). Incident CKD was defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/minute/1.73 m2 accompanied by ≥25% estimated glomerular filtration rate decline, a kidney disease–related hospitalization or death or end-stage renal disease. Results: During a median follow-up of 24 years, there were 3,664 cases of incident CKD. Current drinkers were more likely to be men, whites, and to have a higher income level and education level. After adjusting for total energy intake, age, sex, race-center, income, education level, health insurance, smoking, and physical activity, there was no significant association between being a former drinker and risk of incident CKD. Participants who drank ≤1 drink per week, 2 to 7 drinks per week, 8 to 14 drinks per week, and ≥15 drinks per week had, respectively, a 12% (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.79-0.97), 20% (HR: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.72-0.89), 29% (HR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.62-0.83), and 23% (HR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.65-0.91) lower risk of CKD compared with never drinkers. Conclusion(s): Consuming a low or moderate amount of alcohol may lower the risk of developing CKD. Therefore, moderate consumption of alcohol may not likely be harmful to the kidneys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


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