Low Levels of Alcohol are good for the Brain

Low Levels of Alcohol are good for the Brain

What is alcohol doing to your brain?

All of us are aware of the hazards of drinking heavily and it must be avoided at all costs. It leads to numerous fatal diseases like blood pressure, cancer, heart attack and liver diseases. Having said that it is a socially accepted drug in many countries and you cannot imagine a party or a get together without it. Not only it harms our health, it can be a source of public embarrassment as well.

The intoxication factor overcomes you when you are heavily drunk. This can make you do things that you won’t even imagine in your senses. Having said all this, what if I tell you that there is health in alcohol. YES, it’s true as the latest research at the medical center of the University of Rochester claims that lower levels of alcohol have some great benefits.

Firstly, it decreases the inflammation in the brain and clears all the toxins. These toxins, like beta-amyloid and tau proteins, are so dangerous because they lead to serious ailments like Alzheimer’s. The study has laid emphasis on the cleaning process of the brain which is known as the glymphatic system. Researchers clearly explained the mechanism in which Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) is pumped into the brain at the expense of waste that is flushed away. Maiken Nedergaard, who is co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at URMC, says:

“Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system. However, in this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely, it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.”

During the experimentation phase of this research, mice were used. They were exposed to low levels of alcohol and the effects were observed. The results showed that the mice who were given alcohol equal to two-and-a-half drinks per day showed fewer signs of inflammation and developed a more efficient waste removal system than the mice which were deprived of alcohol.

On the other hand, those animals that were given high doses of alcohol had a much greater inflammation in their cells. The rate of inflammation was much higher in case of astrocytes, the cells which regulate the glymphatic system of the brain. The cognitive and motor skills of such mice were also impaired due to high levels of ethanol for longer periods while these skills were perfectly in balance for those who were given low dosages. The lead author said following words in this regard:

“The data on the effects of alcohol on the glymphatic system seemingly matches the J-shaped model relating to the dose effects of alcohol on general health and mortality, whereby low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health.” He further added that “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.  This study may help explain why this occurs.  Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health.”

The research explained above is not the only source that refers low levels of alcohol as healthy. According to another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the risk of death due to all medical reasons including heart attacks. Similarly, a research in BMJ in 2017 declared that moderate drinking diminishes the probability of strokes and heart diseases.

Hang on for a minute before you start drinking considering it healthy. There are many ways to extract all these benefits other than drinking. The ability to remove wastes from our brain depends a lot on our sleep and exercise. Hence, give your body a proper sleep and make regular exercise your habit. These are more natural ways that guarantee a healthy body without any conflicts. The note from American Heart Association holds the key in this matter as they say that:

 “The best-known effect of alcohol is a small increase in HDL cholesterol.”

They highly recommend the public to gain potential benefits through natural process and if you do drink, make sure that you are in the moderate range which 2 drinks a day for men and one for women.

Computer Scientist by qualification who loves to read, write, eat, and travel

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