Fact Check: Can beer or alcohol reduce risk of cancer?

Here's all you need to know:

By Sunanda Naik  Published on  2 Jan 2024 1:36 PM GMT
Fact Check: Can beer or alcohol reduce risk of cancer?

Hyderabad: An Instagram video claiming beer possesses anti-carcinogenic properties is widely shared on social media.

The speaker in the viral video has been identified as Dr Rajendra Goyal, a purported homeopathic practitioner. In the video, Dr Goyal claims that beer contains an antioxidant called Zentomol which acts as an anti-carcinogen in the body.

We ran a keyword search and found the same video on an Instagram profile claimed to be run by Dr Raju Ram Goyal with a display photo of the person in the video.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found that the claim is false.

Alcohol is the common term for ethanol or ethyl alcohol, a chemical substance found in alcoholic beverages such as beer, hard cider, malt liquor, wines, and distilled spirits (liquor). It is produced by the fermentation of sugars and starches by yeast.

Hence, when we talk about beer and its being carcinogenic, we term it as alcohol.

Does alcohol contain anti-carcinogenic properties?

No, no study or research calls beer anti-carcinogenic. Contrary to what is being claimed, the CDC stated that all alcoholic drinks, including red and white wine, beer, and liquor, are linked to cancer. The more you drink, the higher your cancer risk.

The article further explained how alcohol or beer increases the chances of getting cancer as when someone consumes alcohol, the body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. When the DNA is damaged, a cell's functioning disrupts and creates a cancer tumour.

Hence, the more you drink, the more you are likely you are to get closer to cancer.

What are the types of cancers alcohol puts you at risk for?

According to Cancer Research UK, consuming alcohol may make you suffer seven types of cancers, such as:

- Breast cancer

- Bowel cancer

- Liver cancer

- Mouth cancer

Some types of throat cancer:

- Oesophagus (food pipe)

- Larynx (voice box)

- Pharynx (upper throat)

Is beer a healthy drink?

No, it is a longstanding myth that calls beer healthy. The research also mentions that excessive consumption can lead to conditions such as cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.

No safe amount of beer consumption is recommended. Moderate and occasional consumption in less quantity may reduce the chances of complications.

A study has found that alcohol consumption has also been associated with decreased risks of kidney cancers and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in multiple studies. However, any potential benefits of alcohol consumption for reducing the risks of some cancers are likely outweighed by the harms of alcohol consumption.

It further adds, “Numerous studies have examined whether there is an association between alcohol consumption and the risk of other cancers. For cancers of the ovary, prostate, stomach, uterus, and bladder, either no association with alcohol use has been found or the evidence for an association is inconsistent. However, evidence is accumulating that alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of melanoma and prostate and pancreatic cancers.”


Alcohol increases cancer risk due to the presence of ethanol. When the body metabolizes or breaks down, ethanol, it forms acetaldehyde which is a carcinogen that damages DNA. Oxidative stress is yet another reason. Alcohol also irritates healthy cells and increases estrogen which has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. It might also put you through problems breaking down and processing important nutrients.

It is better to avoid alcohol no matter what myth goes around.

We further reached out to Dr S Vijay Mohan, MD, senior consultant physician, Care Hospitals, and the HoD for the Department of Internal Medicine, to debunk the claim.

“Any vegetable or fruit is a good antioxidant as they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Anything made up of vegetables or fruits can have these vitamins which are antioxidants. Beer being a vegetable product technically it should contain antioxidants. It again depends on what process is involved in manufacturing beer. Over boiling and over cooking and frying can destroy them. Alcohol in any form is not good for health. It can be harmful in excess quantity. If one wants to have antioxidants they can eat fresh fruits and vegetables. We don’t recommend anybody to start drinking beer. Alcohol is a toxic substance. It is neither a food nor a health drink. It is better to avoid it as much as possible,” he said.

Claim Review:Beer or alcohol reduces the risk of cancer.
Claimed By:Social media user
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Facebook, Instagram
Claim Fact Check:False
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