Moderate Drinking Can Reduce Dementia, Alzheimer’s Risk

In an article in the International Business Times 08/19/2011 edition, Loyala University Medical Center researchers admit that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the risk of developing cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s type dementia.

They reviewed 143 studies, which included about 365,000 members from 19 different countries. The health benefits were seen in 14 of the 19 countries including the USA.  Moderate drinking was defined as one drink daily for women and two for men. Further clarification defines moderate intake as 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer.

It was not clear why moderate alcohol intake reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease but it is believed to be due to its anti-inflammatory effects.  Neuroinflammation which occurs in both Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be altered by moderate alcohol consumption. They did caution however, that heavy drinking defined as 3-5 drinks per day actually causes neuroinflammation and memory problems.  The study, published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment Journal, showed that wine consumption was a better choice to reduce the risk of dementia.

The study review showed that moderate drinking didn’t impair the cognitive functions in younger subjects aged 18 -50 and actually reduced the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in participants over the age of 50.