Cheers! Moderate Drinking Is Good for Your Brain
Older adults who are moderate drinkers are more likely than non-drinkers to live to age 85 without dementia or other signs of cognitive impairment, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The study also indicates men and women 85 and older who consume “moderate to heavy” amounts of alcohol five to seven days a week are twice as likely to be cognitively healthy as those who do not drink.
For the study, researchers used guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to define gender- and age-specific moderate, heavy, and excessive drinking. Moderate drinking is defined as one alcoholic drink per day for adult women of any age and men 65 and older, and up to two drinks a day for adult men under 65. Heavy drinking is defined as up to three alcoholic beverages per day for adult women of and men over 65, and four drinks a day for men under 65. Consuming amounts more than these is defined as excessive drinking.
Researchers don’t suggest increased longevity and cognitive health is due to drinking or that everyone should drink. For many, alcohol can have negative health effects. But the study does seem to show that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle for some older adults.