Alcohol May Slow Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

 May 22, 2007, in the journal Neurology, a study was published from the University of Bari, Italy, involving 1,445 people between the ages of 65 through 85 examining the long term affects of alcohol intake on dementia. This study, the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging, followed the subjects for three and a half years.

The outcome of the study suggested that geriatric adults who routinely drank one alcoholic beverage per day may have developed both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at a rate of 85% slower than the individuals in the same age group who did have a moderate, daily intake of alcohol.

There have been a number of studies which have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption has been linked with reduced risk of vascular disease, and good vascular health could slow the progression of dementia. There have been well-published studies out of Harvard School of Public Heath that have shown moderate alcohol consumption may be involved in the reduction of many serious conditions ranging from heart attack, bowel cancer, strokes and high blood pressure.  In addition to the antioxidants found in wines, the stress reducing effects of alcohol may be the common denominator behind these benefits.

Despite the University of Bari study outcomes, numerous experts believe that alcohol used alone won’t stop the onset of dementia. More importantly they recommend adopting a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and social interaction as the best way of protecting our brain health. Other studies have already shown that wine contains natural compounds that have an antioxidant effect, which is good for circulation.

 Or it could be that a moderate lifestyle, which includes a moderate intake of alcohol, may-be important in the overall picture than the alcohol content of the diet. As the Neurology article states: “It is… possible that moderate lifestyles in general, which obviously vary according to different cultural environments, protect from cognitive impairment. Thus it may not be the direct effect of alcohol or specific substances in alcoholic drinks that provide the protection.”

While there is some question about the specific action of alcohol to reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, there is little to no debate that a balanced, moderate lifestyle is the best protection against many chronic, debilitating conditions.

With all good wishes,

Copyright 2010 – G.Donadio