Even moderate drinking affects your brain power

It’s so hard to know what is safe moderate drinking. Different countries use different measures and there are so many  research studies saying  different things from moderate drinking protects your heart to there is no safe level of drinking.


 Why is there so much confusion about moderate drinking?

A big problem is the money spent by big alcohol to fight  efforts by government and public health care professionals  to develop common standards. Recently here in Ireland they launched an “independent” report stating alcohol consumption was declining when alcohol consumption actually went up 5% in Ireland last year.

Many of the earlier studies showing there are health benefits from moderate drinking are now shown to be flawed. They compared people who had given up drinking for health reasons to people who were still drinking. This meant the people who had given up drinking had more health problems than the people who were still drinking!


There is no safe level of drinking

The reputable British journal  the  Lancet brought together a number of experts who concluded that overall alcohol is a more harmful drug than even heroin or cocaine.

So the public health experts have concluded there is no safe level of drinking.

So now they talk about low risk drinking limits and moderate drinking.  For women this is  eleven or less standard drinks and two drink free days. See the picture below for an example of a low risk drinking week.

  moderate drinking


Even moderate drinking decreases your brain power

Worryingly a new research study states that even moderate drinking can affect your brain power. The researchers did brain function tests including  MRI scans and adjusted for age, social class and smoking. They found that even those people drinking to low risk guidelines were more likely to have damage known as hippocampal atrophy. The hippocampus is a key part of the brain for remembering and learning. The researchers found  even moderate drinking  affects memory and ability to move around spaces.

The more people drank the more brain damage they had.

 You can see a report on the study here.


The majority of people who drink, drink too much.

In the same article, of 800 people who responded 57% felt they needed to reduce their drinking. This confirms earlier HRB reports that the majority of Irish people who drink are abusing alcohol.  


 moderate drinking



Reducing your drinking is a good idea

So for the sake of our poor brain and to reduce the risk of dementia we should reduce the amounts we drink. For some quick tips on reducing the harm that drinking can cause  please click here.

This post was written by Carol

As some who gets hangovers lasting a week, Carol never drank too much - Once she got to a sensible age! However as a patient with an auto immune illness, since she was a teenager she has to drink very little. So she really understands how Irish society makes this very difficult. Carol is responsible for all aspects of Lifewise operations that Valerie and Angela do not cover.

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