According to recent studies, even one tiny wine glass each day may trigger Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease development.
Alcohol consumption linked to cognitive decline
According to University of Oxford investigators, about seven pints of beer per week, or half the advised limit, is enough to drive iron buildup in the brain. They explain that alcohol impairs brain function by suppressing a hormone that regulates mineral absorption in the body.
Lead study author Dr. Anya Topiwala said, “In the largest study to date, we found drinking greater than 7 units of alcohol weekly associated with iron accumulation in the brain. Higher brain iron in turn linked to poorer cognitive performance. Iron accumulation could underlie alcohol-related cognitive decline.”
In Dementia patients, scientists have discovered an area with greater iron overload, which includes the deep grey matter. Also, in Parkinson’s disease, a similar pattern has been established.
Injurious plaques made of amyloid beta, a renegade protein that clumps together and kills neurons, have been linked in trials to cognitive loss. Blood-borne iron is necessary for proper brain activity, but it must be strictly controlled.
The 21,000-person study provides more proof that even moderate alcohol consumption can influence brain health. Alcohol use of seven units or greater per week was linked to basal ganglia indications of increased iron levels. These neural networks regulate various functions, including cognition, eye movement, emotion, and motor activity. Poorer mental abilities are associated with iron build-up in some brain regions.
Alcohol consumption reduces brain iron levels
Alcohol reduces iron levels in the brain, called chelators that have been widely studied as possible Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Higher circulating iron levels could partially influence alcohol-related brain iron, although it is probable that there are other processes at play as well. There were indications of greater basal ganglia iron, worse cognitive function, fluid intelligence, and slower reaction times.
According to the study authors, brain iron buildup could be a potential trigger of alcohol-linked cognitive decline. As a result, the CDC recommends taking no more than two drinks a day.