Under the Hood

Moderate Drinking And Brain Health: What You Need To Know

Moderate drinking may have some positive effects on the brain. Researchers have found that people who consumed the right amount of alcohol are likely to have lower risk of having Alzheimer's disease. 

The study conducted at Seoul National University College of Medicine looked into how the effects of alcohol consumption cause changes in the brain of people without dementia and alcohol-related disorder. Researchers asked 414 middle- and old-aged people about their alcohol intake and for brain images.

"In people without dementia and without alcohol abuse or dependency, moderate drinking appears to be helpful as far as brain health is concerned," Dong Young Lee, senior study author, told the New York Times

Earlier studies showed that moderate amounts of alcohol could help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Alcoholic drinks appeared to be helping reduce the production of damaging beta-amyloid protein in the brain, according to Mercola.

In the recent study in Seoul, the researchers described moderate drinking as consumption of one to 13 standard drinks a week. Participants regularly took an average of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

Analysis of self-reported data and brain imaging showed that the people who drank moderately for decades had 66 percent lower rate of beta-amyloid deposits in their brains compared to nondrinkers. But those who recently started drinking moderately and the heavy drinkers did not experience the same benefits of alcohol.

"We observed that moderate lifetime alcohol intake (i.e., 1–13 standard drinks [SDs]/week) was significantly associated with lower amyloid deposition compared to no drinking, whereas current alcohol intake did not affect amyloid deposition," researchers said in the study.

However, more studies are required to see how moderate amounts of alcohol helped reduce beta-amyloids. Researchers also relied on how participants recalled their alcohol drinking history.

More Effects Of Moderate Drinking

One study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that regular intake of small amounts of alcohol could help boost the functions of the glymphatic system, which works to eliminate waste products from the brain. Drinking about 2.5 alcoholic drinks a day may also help reduce brain inflammation.

The glymphatic system helps send waste from the brain to the circulatory system and liver for elimination. However, the study was conducted with mice and more research is needed to confirm the findings.

Beer A woman opens a beer at a bar during a power outage in Caracas on March 9, 2019. It is not always bad take a bottle or a glass with a number of studies showing that light to moderate drinkers tend to enjoy not just the good times with friends but also the health benefits of drinking alcohol. Cristian Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images

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