Cheers To Your Health: Moderate Drinking Appears To Boost The Brain's Self-Care Mechanism

Evidence suggests that about 2.5 drinks a day could increase the brain's ability to flush out metabolic byproducts and other potentially harmful cellular debris. Lungaard et al./Scientific Reports, 2018

Aliyah Kovner 05 Feb 2018, 10:37

To get a sense of how regular drinking can impact our brain’s garbage-disposal ability, the authors gave a different set of mice the same doses every day for 30 days, then examined their brains. In this experiment, the low-dose mice showed somewhat improved glymphatic circulation compared to controls, though the difference was not as dramatic. These mice also displayed perfectly normal behavior and motor skills at all times.

As expected, the medium dose decreased functionality, this time by about 19 percent. The authors did not assess a 30-day high-dose group because such intense levels of alcohol might have messed the mice up so much that isolating the effect on one body system alone would have been impossible. Plus, “in our pilot study, chronic exposure to the high dose of alcohol had a mortality rate of 40 percent,” they wrote.

Now, before you sprint out the door to your nearest happy hour, bear in mind that this study was not designed to assess the long-term consequences of alcohol on brain health and that the outcomes may be different in people. 

But, as too-good-to-be-true as it may sound, the results suggest that a glass of wine (or two) could be an excellent way to end the day.

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