Published On: Sat, Feb 3rd, 2018

Low Levels of Alcohol Good for the Brain, Study

Studies have linked lower levels of drinking alcohol with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and now with a lesser risk of dementia.

 

A new study shows that a couple of glasses of wine can actually help clear the mind after a busy day.

The research conducted by a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that exposure to two-and-a-half drinks per day in mice – cannot only lower inflammation in the brain but can help it clear away toxins, by the more efficient waste removal process, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The finding, published in the journal Scientific Reports, adds to a growing body of research that point to the health usefulness of low doses of alcohol.

While excessive consumption of alcohol is a well-documented health hazard, many studies have linked lower levels of drinking with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as some cancers.  Now moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia.

For cardiovascular diseases (read study published in 2017 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology); For stroke, heart attack and heart failure (read in 2017 in BMJ).

Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and lead author of the study said. “This study may help explain why low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.”

The research focuses on the glymphatic system, the brain’s unique cleaning process was first described by Nedergaard and her colleagues in 2012.

Subsequent research has shown that the glymphatic system is more active while we sleep, can be damaged by stroke and trauma, and improves with exercise.

Said Nedergaard: “Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline. This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.”

The American Heart Association does not recommend drinking alcohol to gain potential health benefits. Instead, advises that if you do drink alcohol, do one or two drinks per day for men and one for women. Drinking more than that can increase the risk of health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, stroke and breast cancer.

 

 

 

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