Alcohol May Reduce Dementia


Once again alcohol is in the news as a health benefit. A study at the University of Bari, Italy which involved 1,445 people between the ages of 65 and 85 suggests that one drink per day may reduce the onset of dementia in elderly people and slow down the progress of cognitive impairment for seniors. 

Study participants, who routinely drank one alcoholic beverage per day,developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at a slower rate than those who did not. Of the study participants that were in the “drinking group” only 121 developed mild memory issues, cognitive impairment or mental problems.

The study group in this Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging were followed for three and a half years. While the specific mode of action regarding how the small alcohol consumption protects against dementia is not clear, researchers believe it is possible that alcohol improves circulation and thus may slow hardening of arteries that supply the brain.

In spite of this study many experts still believe that alcohol use alone won’t stop the onset of dementia, but that adopting a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and social stimulation is the best way of protecting yourself against the loss of cognitive brain function.

Other alcohol studies have already shown that wine contains natural compounds that have an antioxidant effect, such as resveratrol, which is good for healthy circulation.

Alzheimer’s organizations and scientists continue to investigate the possible benefits of fruit juice, red wine, and oily fish in efforts to determine ways to help offset the expected numbers of people who may develop dementia in the coming years.

 In studies over the past twenty years, moderate alcohol consumption (one or two glasses of wine, or other alchoholic drinks, per day) has shown a long and consistent association with a reduced risk of morbidity and mortality from a number of common chronic diseases. In addition to antioxidants in wine, stress reduction by alcohol, may be the common denominator behind these benefits.

With all good wishes,

Copyright 2010 G. Donadio