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Friday, 27 July 2018

Does Alcohol Consumption Increase Alzheimers Disease Risk?

We’ve all heard that alcohol kills brain cells but there’s so much conflicting information about whether red wine is good for us or whether the alohol actually harms brain health . What’s a health-conscious person who is trying their best to support their body’s health needs to believe? A recent study may have the answer.
The link between alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s has been growing but until now, scientists were not clear on why it may occur. We know that there is an increase in inflammation in the brain due to alcohol consumption, and that inflammation is linked to many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, but recent research published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation found that alcohol may stunt the brain’s ability to eliminate beta-amyloid before it turns into Alzheimer’s disease’s signature plaques.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that starts with memory loss and eventually leads to full-blown dementia. There are many symptoms associated with this disease, including memory problems, confusion, disorientation, inability to manage tasks, hallucinations and delusions, episodes of violence or rage, episodes of childlike behavior, paranoia, depression, and mood swings. 
The disease affects part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and intellect. Brain cells, also known as neurons, in the hippocampus become entangled, resulting in lost brain cells and abnormal protein formations called plaques, amyloid plaques, or beta-amyloid plaques. We all lose some brain cells as we age but, in Alzheimer’s, the losses are more significant. Scientists believe that the plaques are causative factors for the disease. Wherever plaques are formed in the brain, there is accompanying brain inflammation, which is also a causative factor for Alzheimer’s.
The scientists have known that immune system cells that are normally found in the brain and spinal cord, called microglial cells, essentially “eat” harmful plaques to prevent them from doing damage. But, why do they not work properly in Alzheimer’s disease? According to the new discovery alcohol (and perhaps other things, but this study simply focused on the brain effects of alcohol consumption) prevents microglial cells from being able to eliminate the harmful plaques, which may lead to their build-up.
Other research published in the journal Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Researchfound that alcohol consumption can affect genes that regulate brain inflammation, making the brain more susceptible to diseases linked to inflammation.
The newest research in our understanding about brain health and the connection between alcohol and brain disease demonstrates how alcohol impairs the brain’s ability to clear out beta amyloid plaques, making it vulnerable to memory loss and eventually, if the problem continues, to brain disease.
You may be thinking, “but I drink red wine and I’ve read that it is actually good for me.” Red wine contains resveratrol that is naturally-occurring in purple and red grapes, grape juice, and red wine; and resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that destroys free radicals, seeking them out and eliminating these harmful substances before they can cause brain damage. However, journalists who report red wine as beneficial to the brain are only telling half of the story and leaving out a vital component that could be harmful to your brain health.
Alcohol consumption has increasingly been linked to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. The new Journal of Neuroinflammation, not only links them together, but also shows how alcohol impairs the brain, leaving it vulnerable to damage from beta-amyloid plaques that are causal factors in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
So, what’s my verdict: is red wine good for your brain or not? Purple and red grapes and grape juice are good for your but red wine’s potentially damaging effects outweigh any benefits. Alcohol of any kind is harmful to your brain. Does that mean you should forego it altogether? That’s entirely up to you. I simply provide the information to help you make an informed decision.

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