Drinking a couple glasses of wine a day helps keep your brain spick-and-span.
So say University of Rochester researchers who exposed mice to the equivalent of two glasses of red or white wine, or 1.5 pints of beer, a day.
Compared to teetotaling lab animals, the boozy subjects more efficiently flushed waste products linked with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., lead author of the study in Scientific Reports.
“However, in this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to the brain, namely it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.”
Mice were given ethanol, a compound of alcohol. More research is needed to see whether alcohol has the same effect on people as mice.
The study adds to research into health benefits of low levels of alcohol. In this case, low doses of alcohol aid the glymphatic system, which Nedergaard and her colleagues first noted in 2012. It’s the process that clears the brain of toxins.
Researchers caution that you can overdo the scrubbing bubbly. High levels of alcohol consumption temporarily suppressed the glymphatic system, but it returned to normal 24 hours after termination of alcohol exposure.
“Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline,” Nedergaard said. “This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.”