2018-02-03 00:10:10 UTC
IS DRINKING HEALTHY? ALCOHOL HELPS CLEAN TOXINS FROM THE BRAIN, STUDY SHOWS
BY KATE SHERIDAN ON 2/2/18 AT 11:32 AM
(Hey man!! I do not invent this stuff.
Since Jones is unsure about us being allowed
to drink alcohol, he might disagree.
A little bit of alcohol might help your brain clean itself, new research
published Friday in Scientific Reports suggests. The research was done
in mice, so it’s impossible to say if the benefit is the same for
humans. But still.
We already knew that alcohol has some health benefits, Dr. Maiken
Nedergaard told Newsweek. “Except for a few types of cancer, including
unfortunately breast cancer, alcohol is good for almost everything,”
said Nedergaard, the director of the Center for Translational
Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Nedergaard has studied the glymphatic system, a recently discovered
system that helps clear waste from the body, since 2012. Her team was
also responsible for a 2013 paper showing that sleep was necessary for
the system to function.
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Their latest work found that low amounts of alcohol could help the
glymphatic system work better. In the study, mice were given a “low
level” of alcohol, the equivalent of two-and-a half-drinks. Compared to
mice who were not given the alcohol, the glymphatic systems of the
experimental group showed improved function.
But there’s more to the study than that, she said. The researchers found
that supportive cells of the brain known as glial cells appeared less
inflamed among mice given low doses of alcohol compared to controls.
“This might be what I’m most surprised about.” Nedergaard thinks this
mechanism could explain why the mice’s glymphatic systems were working
Seeing an improvement among the mice given alcohol went against
expectations. “Normally, when you do a study, your control mice are the
ones who are doing best,” Nedergaard explained. “It’s hard to improve
something that’s already healthy,” she said. She and her team repeated
the experiment a few times to make sure the results turned out the same;
The results are not necessarily an excuse to go for that third glass of
wine. “Of course, we cannot say anything about humans because mice are
different. They have a much faster metabolism,” Nedergaard said. “If
anything, it should be a lower amount in humans.” Also, mice that were
given higher levels of alcohol showed signs that their glymphatic
systems were working more poorly.
Alcohol is included in the national dietary guidelines. Studies have
shown that moderate drinking can decrease the risk for heart disease and
stroke. Researchers at Louisiana State University reiterated that in a
study published Thursday that showed antioxidants, like the ones in red
wine, may improve stents. However, the number of drinks per day that
would make someone a “moderate” drinker may seem disappointing: just one
drink for women and two for men. And the new study from Nedergaard and
colleagues reinforces that heavy drinking is bad for your health.
To reduce the chance of abusing alcohol, the National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends women shouldn’t have more than
seven drinks per week and men shouldn’t have more than 14; binge
drinking is defined as having more than four or five drinks within a few
hours for women and men, respectively.
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