Beer is better for boozers' brains
First of all, a point of clarification: too much alcohol is bad for the brain.
Indeed, research published just this week shows that binge drinkers already tend to have poorer memories than those who drink more safely even at the age of just 17 or 18. But for all that, it appears that beer may be less harmful to the brain than wines and spirits.
A study from Germany's GÅ¡ttingen University shows that the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory, spatial tasks and other functions, was more than 10% smaller in those drank wine than in those who favoured beer.
The researchers reckon that some of the beer drinkers had consumed twice as much alcohol as the wine lovers suggesting that this is not just related to the fact that wine is stronger in alcohol than beer. The researchers speculate that there may be something in beer that partially protects the brain from the damage caused by wine.
They found that beer drinkers had the lowest levels of a compound in the blood called homocysteine which has previously been linked to higher risks of heart disease, strokes, brain atrophy and dementia. It is possible that some of the ingredients in beer - B vitamins and folate, for example - may break down homocysteine.
Interesting stuff - especially as red wine is usually posited as the best drink to consume in small quantities to protect against heart disease. So what should the healthy drinker drink? That's your call but either way, remember what we said in the first paragraph of this stor. And if you can't remember that, stop drinking.
Page created on April 7th, 2008
Page updated on December 21st, 2009