Drinking beer or wine every day can cause age-related diseases
Drinking too much alcohol over long periods of time is associated with direct and indirect health effects including
When it comes to brain health, regular drinking can affect your memory and ability to think clearly. This is known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or alcohol-related brain damage.
More alcohol, less brain size
To discover more about the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain in older adults, researchers studied the MRIs of more than 36,000 middle-aged adults in the UK and compared the scan results with their reported alcohol intake.
After grouping the objects by average drink alcohol everydaythey see that Drinking more alcohol was associated with a more pronounced decline in brain volume regardless of other factors.
For people over 50, increasing daily half a glass of beer or a glass of wine to a pint or full glass of wine was associated with brain shrinkage comparable to aging in two years (2✔ ✔Trusted source
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Even a slight increase, from not drinking to drinking just one unit of alcohol per day (the equivalent of half a beer), was associated with a smaller brain volume about half a year of brain aging.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for moderate alcohol consumption are for women to drink one drink or less and men to drink two or fewer drinks per day. When this amount exceeds consumption, it reduces brain volume as shown in the study.
Although some previous studies have linked heavy drinking to brain shrinkage, some studies suggest that moderate drinking may have no effect and light to moderate drinking may be beneficial for older adults (3✔ ✔Trusted source
Why Age and Alcohol don’t mix
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This study, combined with a growing research team, shows that the idea that moderate drinking promotes health is no longer appealing.
The cumulative consumption of alcohol is important in studying its effects on the brain, and subjects may have had higher or lower alcohol intake prior to the study.
In future work, the researchers hope to use the large data sets to help answer additional questions related to alcohol use. They also want to be able to identify causes rather than correlations.
- The Truth About Aging and Alcohol – (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/facts-about-aging-and-alcohol)
- Association between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volume in UK Biobank – (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-28735-5)
- Why Age and Alcohol don’t mix – (https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2022/age-and-alcohol.html)