Moderate drinking was once thought to be the key to a better heart, brain and overall health. But thanks to recent studies this myth is now corrected. A new research published in the British Medical Journal shows that moderate drinking which is estimated as one 5-ounces glass of wine per day in addition to a bit more occasionally could lead to some serious changes in the brain. These changes include a 3 times higher risk of right-sided hippocampal atrophy (a form of brain damage that could eventually lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia) than nondrinkers.
This study that observed 550 participants since 1985 also shows that heavy drinkers (those who had two or more glasses of wine or beer per day) had the highest risk if mental decline.
This decline was appearing in their lexical fluency (naming as many words as possible that start with the same letter in short time) as well as slow ability to process thoughts quickly.
We all knew that drinking heavily for a long period of time have a negative impact on the body organs like brain, liver, kidneys and heart but knowing that drinking even small amounts can still lead to the same damage is surprising.
The participants that didn’t drink at all, 35% of them had a shrinkage on their right hippocampus portion of the brain, while the percentage for heavy drinkers was 77% and moderate drinkers the figure was 65%.
This is not the only study that showed one glass of wine or beer a day could lead to serious health issues. Another study showed that women that have the habit of daily drinking even as little as one glass of wine a day had a higher risk of breast cancer than nondrinkers.
These studies should be a wakeup call to reevaluate our understanding of moderate drinking and think to ourselves whether drinking that one glass of wine a day is really worth it.
But even if the fact that moderate drinking lead to cognitive decline is more proved through new studies, the hope is not lost, researches show that regaining brain function and new brain cells growth can start to take place within only one year of quitting alcohol.
Other benefits of quitting alcohol include lowered risk of several diseases like certain types of cancer, pancreatitis, stroke, depression, anxiety and digestive tract ulcers and other problems.