NA Brew and You

I was thinking as I pondered this week’s blog that featuring a bottle of beer might grab your interest. Now I ask you, did it? There is a medicinal purpose for this interest grabber but all the same most will not expect it of a blog that is mostly devoted to hypothyroidism. Well you will now expect the unexpected.

A few weeks ago I was fascinated by a news story I found on Twitter, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/nonalcoholic-beer-aids-marathon-recovery/. My piqued curiosity was primarily a result of my ongoing electrolyte issue, something in retrospect I think has been with me forever. I am sure no one else reading this article connected NA beer with electrolytes but leave it to me.

Decades ago I ran a half marathon. I did not enjoy the run and when we finished I was totally dehydrated, I didn’t know I was totally dehydrated but when the proffered drink, Coca Cola, was consumed with some voracious appetite for replenishing fluid, I was suddenly hit with stomach cramps of a humongous proportion. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a warm tub of water, writhing.

You see when running in those days, whether it was 5 miles or 10,  I avoided hydration because any fluid inside often had the negative affect of causing a stitch in my side. “Stitch” is an euphemism for paralyzing pain that stops you in your tracks and according to the site I looked at many think it has something to do with your liver. I suspect I was dehydrated, very low on minerals and high in inflammation when I finished the 15K race in the hot July sun. If strained ligaments that support your liver are the cause of such pain mine were in paroxysms of strain.

Fast forward a decade or two, and thanks to struggling adrenals my electrolytes are often on the edge of imbalance and a good long soak in a hot tub can put me over the edge and always has. For me the after effect of a long soak in a very hot tub of water is a racing heartbeat that nearly roars in my ear and awakens me from a sound sleep. I now know what to do (run to the kitchen and drink a large glass of very salty water) but I am always looking for help with this issue. Enter non-alcoholic beer, yes, you read that right, a non-alcoholic (NA) brew.

Last week after a nice hot tub evening we were going to have homemade pizza. What is perfect with pizza? Well, for some the only answer is beer. I am not a devotee but having read the article on how well marathon runners recover if they drink  non-alcoholic beer before and after a race I was looking for any excuse to give it a try. I am currently not gluten free, so I do not have to seek out gluten free non-alcoholic beer and the Beck’s NA that I found is actually very tasty, a slightly bitter German brew that is nicely hoppy with the perfect carbonation. I had no Beck’s NA before my bath but two afterwards plus a slice of salty pizza.

I did not count the carbs ( honestly I didn’t want to know) but I suspect the extra carbs are also helpful to marathon runners. My goal was an uninterrupted night of sleep and my goal was achieved. I did have Celtic Sea Salt throughout the day but I always do that and still have to get up and drink salt water. I also take Tri-Salts, a mixture of magnesium, calcium and potassium but again I always do that, so the NA beer was the only change and it made a difference, it really did. I got up but it was for reasons other than a need for salty water to calm my racing heart.

Talk about unscientific studies this one has no control subjects, no pre-bath data to compare to post-bath data but I will do it again and wanted to share the article and my experience with my readers. By the way, the article did state that drinking alcoholic beer probably negates any benefits of the polyphenols found in beer even though the alcoholic beer is even more loaded with polyphenols. Also, just for the sake of knowledge gleaned, unpasteurized beer is even more loaded with polyphenols, B vitamins, etc. but still alcohol negates most of the benefits.

Yes, you’ve got that right, there is no excuse for a bender this weekend. I take no responsibility for anyone drinking one to one and a half liters of strong beer in the name of lowering inflammation and possibly assisting electrolyte imbalances but, gosh, if you do, and it works, let me know.

Experimenting for your good health,

Kris

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