There are plenty of reasons to avoid drinking too much wine or beer, especially since alcohol can harm your health in various ways. However, you may now want to stop drinking alcohol completely – or as much as possible – as a recent study found that drinking even a moderate amount of alcohol can lead to faster aging of the brain.
In the July 2022 study published in MEDICINE PLOSIn the study, the researchers collected data from 20,965 participants who had an average age of 55. While 2.7% of the participants drank no alcohol, the rest of the participants drank an average of 18 units each week. To put that in perspective, 18 units is roughly the same as six large glasses of wine. If you prefer beer, you will be interested to know that it is like seven and a half cans of your favorite drink. This turns out to be quite a lot when it comes to maintaining a healthy brain.
“In the largest study to date, we found that drinking more than 7 units of alcohol per week was associated with iron accumulation in the brain,” Oxford University said. Anya Topiwala, who was behind the study, reports EurekAlert! “High iron in the brain in turn is associated with poorer cognitive performance. Iron accumulation could be the basis of alcohol-related cognitive decline.”
“Researchers have found that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a greater accumulation of iron in the basal ganglia, a group of brain regions that help us perform cognitive, emotional, and movement-related functions.” Emma Ling, Ph.D., RDNclinical professor at the University of Georgia and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat this, not that!. “High levels of iron in the basal ganglia have been associated with poor measures of cognitive function.”
“The brain is very sensitive to changes in iron metabolism,” Ling says, explaining that iron in the brain causes cognitive decline. “Abnormally high iron in the brain has been associated with oxidative stress, which leads to neuronal damage and cell death.”
Tips to reduce alcohol
If you want to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink to avoid the possibility of aging your brain, Ling says you might want to “choose light alcoholic beverages, nonalcoholic beverages, or nonalcoholic beverages.” Furthermore, “Having one or two glasses of water with each drink will help reduce overconsumption, as well as avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.”
However, “while some people may enjoy substituting alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic alternatives, those suffering or recovering from alcoholism are cautioned to try them, as the alternatives may increase the desire to drink alcohol.” In fact, Ling notes, “The health effects of alcohol consumption are highly dependent on the individual, their health conditions, and the medications they are taking.”
Finally, says Ling, “If you tend to drink excessively or notice that alcohol is causing problems in your life, counseling and recovery programs will be recommended. Your primary care provider can also advise you on appropriate resources. If you do not drink, start this habit is not recommended.” “.
Desirée O is a freelance writer covering lifestyle news, food, and nutrition, among other topics. Read more