A new study has shown that phenolic acids, which are present in champagne, could have a beneficial effect against degeneration of the nervous system due to ageing. The study was conducted on ageing mice that were given a champagne supplement for six weeks while a control group were just given an alcohol-matched supplement.
The rodents having champagne exhibited an improvement in their spatial working memory compared to the control mice. The benign effect is linked to the presence of phenolic acids, a class of antioxidants that have been investigated for their ability to protect organisms against oxidative damage diseases.
The study has been largely reported as "Drinking champagne can protect you from Alzheimer's," but that is an extreme oversimplification.
People reading this research shouldn’t imagine that champagne is a unique "healthy mind" elixir. Phenolic acids are found in significant quantities in coffee, tea, grapes, blueberries, kiwis, plums, cherries, citrus fruit, red wine, corn, wheat, and many other plants. A significant amount of phenolic acid is also present in human urine (although this should not be seen as an encouragement from IFLScience to start drinking urine).
The investigation actually discovered that the smaller phenolic acids directly affect the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain linked to the formation of new memories. Although the result is important, the same substances might not have the same effect on people as they do on mice.
Dr David Vauzour, one of the researchers on the study, said in a statement: "In the near future we will be looking to translate these findings into humans. This has been achieved successfully with other polyphenol-rich foods, such as blueberry and cocoa, and we predict similar outcomes for moderate champagne intake on cognition in humans."
The paper is published in Antioxidants and Redox Signalling.