Research on alcohol and health has been all over the place.
Some studies have shown moderate drinking is beneficial for heart health and longevity… Others show that even small amounts of alcohol might increase cancer risk.1
But a new study provides strong evidence that a couple glasses of wine a day help your brain. It shows that moderate amounts of alcohol help your brain remove dementia-causing waste products.2
Dr. Maiken Nedergaard is co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She is lead author of the new study. She and her colleagues conducted an experiment in which mice were exposed to various amounts of alcohol.
Mice who imbibed the human equivalent of two-and-a-half drinks per day had far less brain inflammation than mice exposed to no alcohol.
They also had a more efficient glymphatic system. That’s the brain’s unique cleaning system. It was first described by Dr. Nedergaard in 2012.
The glymphatic system pumps cerebrospinal fluid into the brain—mostly at night while you sleep—to flush away waste products. These include the proteins beta amyloid and tau. They are markers of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.3
“In this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health,” Dr. Nedergaard said. “Namely it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.”
Two Drinks a Day for Better Brain Health
But more is not better. The same benefits weren’t seen in mice exposed to higher levels of alcohol. They had high levels of inflammation, particularly in cells called astrocytes. They are key regulators of the glymphatic system.
“Low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health,” said Dr. 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.”
The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Scientific Reports.
Red Wine: Good for Your Head and Heart
What’s the healthiest form of alcohol? Research points to red wine.
Besides helping your brain, red wine has two powerful antioxidants that are good for your arteries. They are resveratrol and quercetin.4
They are so effective at keeping arteries clear and flexible that researchers at Louisiana State University are now developing a heart stent coated with red wine antioxidants. It releases resveratrol and quercetin slowly over time to promote healing and prevent blood clots.5
But Health Watch readers know that heart stents are one of the biggest scams in medicine. A study last year at Imperial College in London found they are almost always worthless. They work no better than a placebo to reduce chest pain.
You’re far better off getting the benefits of red wine from a glass instead of a stent.
Good choices include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Madiran, Merlot, Shiraz, Barbera, and Malbec. They all contain high levels of antioxidants.6
Editor’s Note: If you’re worried about staying mentally sharp, there’s something else you should know… The decades’ worth of studies on this natural herb extract are so promising, Big Pharma is trying to turn it into a drug. Get all the details HERE.
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