According to a recent meta-analysis of previously conducted all-cause dementia (ACD) studies, consuming a glass of wine a day can potentially reduce one’s risk of developing cognitive illness later in life.
Although the exact mechanisms were not revealed in any of the featured ACD reports, moderate alcohol consumption (one to three glasses a day) was consistently linked to reduced dementia risk.
Academicians have since come out on the back of the report with speculations with respect to the reasoning. Some have cited the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of polyphenols found in red wines.
Ethanol has been similarly studied to induce the release of acetylcholine in the brain, which may improve cognitive function.
“Red grape polyphenols are endowed with a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential but some issues, such as polyphenol bioavailability, activity of metabolites, and interaction with microbiota, deserve deeper studies,” the authors of a new report write.
Gallic acid, which the body produces when consuming wine, may be able to block the aggregation of beta-amyloid in the brain before the onset of dementia symptoms.
“It’s pretty clear that people who drink wine [are] lowering the risk of developing dementia; what we were trying to do is see why this is true,” explained Dr. Curtis Ellison, codirector of ISFAR and professor at Boston University School of Medicine, in a media release. “It’s the polyphenols in wine that seem to give it extra protection, and it’s probably that polyphenols work best with alcohol. [But wine] also evidently has mechanisms that are still poorly understood.
“The best way to reap wine’s benefits is to drink moderately, with food, throughout the course of the week. We’re not saying to go out and drink to prevent dementia. However, if you decide that you’re going to have wine with your meal every night, you can know that you’re getting a side benefit.”
The new report was co-authored by researchers from Qingdao Municipal Hospital and Ocean University, Collectively, the meta-analysis subsumed 73,330 participants; five Alzheimer’s dementia studies with 52,715 participants, and four vascular dementia studies with 49,535 participants.
Seven of these papers made a point to distinguish between alcohol sources being consumed by the participants. Each of these seven concluded that wine was the only alcoholic beverage that possesses protective effects against dementia when consumed in light to moderate amounts: Up to four drinks for men and three for women in any single day and a maximum of 14 drinks for men and seven drinks for women per week. The authors used a random-effect model to analyze the data above.
It should be noted that exceeding this value was found to potentially increase one’s risk of developing dementia. More specifically, more than 4 glasses a day or 23 glasses a week appeared to yield negative outcomes.
Neither correlation corresponded with beer consumption in the same way. Heavy beer-drinking was associated with increased dementia risk, but daily consumption of beer did not seem to reduce one’s risk. Still, moderate alcohol consumption may actually be more beneficial to cognitive health than total abstinence.
According to a new paper published in the journal, nutrients the correlation may be more ambiguous than the findings above suggest. Given that wine consumption is a major component of some diets independently linked to cognitive health may suggest that there are other predictive mechanisms at play.
The Mediterranean diet, for instance, features wine a principal feature alongside fruits, vegetables, and grain, has been accredited with longevity many times in the research literature.
“The role of the environment and the diet in AD is being actively studied, and nutrition is one of the main factors playing a prominent role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. In this context, the relationship between dementia and wine use/abuse has received increased research interest, with varying and often conflicting results.,” the authors of the new report write.
“Consumption of wine is one component of the Mediterranean diet, and is increasingly associated with the promotion of human health and the prevention of diseases mainly associated with mental and heart health. However, possible health benefits may only exist with moderate drinking, i.e., “Up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men and only for adults of legal drinking age” as reported by Dietary Guidelines of the United States (2015)”