Low alcohol exposure improved brain health and inflammation

While high doses of alcohol may cause negative effects on your cognition, in addition to chemical imbalances in the brain. New research has shown that low doses of alcohol exposure helped improve brain health.

In a study, conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center, researchers examined mice along with the effects of acute and chronic alcohol exposure.

Among the animals studied who were exposed to high levels of alcohol, researchers discovered evidence of inflammation in the brain associated with astrocytes, key regulators in the glymphatic system.

The glymphatic system is a cleaning process in the brain which involves cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and its use to clean waste from brain tissue such as the proteins beta-amyloid and tau, both linked to dementia, as researchers of the study highlighted back in 2012.

Additionally, researchers also observed decreased cognition and motor skills, symptoms resembling neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Needlesstosay, however, animals exposed to lower levels of alcohol, equivalent to 2 and a half drinks a day, demonstrated decreased inflammation in the brain. The low dose, administered to the mice through a 30 day period, also helped the brain flush away toxins.

“Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline. This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health,” researchers concluded.

“We hypothesize that boosting of glymphatic function in combination with the reduction in GFAP expression might potentially contribute to the lowered risk for Alzheimer’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s dementia among individuals with habitually low but non-zero alcohol intake.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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