If you enjoy a daily cocktail or some wine with dinner, you’ll want to raise your glass to this: A new study found low to moderate drinking may improve cognitive function for White middle-aged or older adults.
Low to moderate drinking was defined as less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men.
The findings support prior research which found that, generally, one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men — which is the US guidance — appears to offer some cognitive benefits.
A standard alcoholic drink in the US is defined as 14 grams or milliliters of alcohol. That measurement varies around the world; for example, a standard drink is 8 grams in the UK and 10 grams in Australia. In Australia the guidelines suggest no more than 10 standard drinks a week.
“There is now a lot of observational evidence showing that light to moderate alcohol drinking is associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia compared with alcohol abstaining,” said senior principal research scientist Kaarin Anstey, a director of the NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration in Australia, who was not involved in the study.
However, a major global study released last year found that no amount of liquor, wine or beer is safe for your overall health. It found that alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths.
Drinking under the age of 15, a growing problem in the US and other countries, was not included in the global analysis.
“What we know for sure is that drinking too much alcohol definitely harms the brain in a major way. What is less clear is whether or not low to moderate intake may be protective in certain people, or if total abstinence is the most sound advice,” said neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson, founder of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“Based on conflicting studies, I don’t think at this time we can know for sure whether none versus low to moderate consumption is best in each individual person,” said Isaacson, who was not involved in either study.
Medical reference: CNN Health