Consuming at least 16 ounces of beer per day could make your brain look two years older.
Alcohol intake has been studied several times throughout history. This time, a study conducted in the UK with more than 36,000 surveyed participants, including middle-aged and older adults, discovered that at least one pint or 16 ounces of beet a day can make your brain look two years older.
The study suggests that taking even just one pint of beer or a glass of wine every day can shrink your brain. The effects could worsen if the quantity increases. Averagely, the brains of people who drank two alcohol units every day – around one pint – had a brain that appeared to be two years older than those of people who did not consume alcohol.
Furthermore, the study found that the differences became even more significant as the number of drinks that people consumed increased.
For instance, people who drank around three alcohol units every day had a brain that appeared to be 3.5 years older, while individuals who had four alcohol units aged their brains by 10 years, says the study published on March 4 via Nature.
It is one of the many studies that have found that consuming alcohol can be prejudicial to the body and could especially damage the cardiovascular system and brain function.
The subjects of the study were people aged 40 to 69. Each person was required to disclose how many alcohol units they drank every day. Then, the results were compared to MRI scans of their brains.
The researchers aggrouped the individuals based on how much alcohol they drank every day, some none, and others two and even more beers or glasses of wine. The team found out that people who drank more alcohol had a more noticeable decline in brain volume compared to those who did not.
The study says that the participants who consumed even one alcohol unique had very noticeable differences in brain structure, specifically in the stem, putamen, and amygdala areas.
These locations are responsible for several “essential” functions, such as breathing, heart rate regulation, and even motor and emotional control. The differences were quite similar even after the participants were evaluated, taking into account demographic factors like age, genetics, and sex.
The areas containing white and grey matter around the brain had a reduced volume in people who consumed alcohol frequently. Grey matter Is responsible for information processing, while white matter allows grey matter to “communicate” with other areas containing grey matter. A reduction in the size of each area could demonstrate decreased cognitive ability.
The study team found out that even people who consumed a reduced number of alcohol units every day showed a significant difference in their brains. This study contradicts what earlier researchers say, as it was previously suggested that a limited amount of alcohol could benefit our health. The new discoveries also oppose most government guidance.
However, it is essential to note that this study only demonstrates that there is a connection between the consumption of alcohol and brain shrinking. It does not suggest that the former causes the latter, according to the researchers. It is important to take into account that people self-reported the amount of alcohol they drank.
In future studies, the researchers want to observe the participants during a specific period to pinpoint if alcohol intake takes part in brain shrinkage and how similar behaviors and habits could also affect the brain.
The team concludes by saying that, due to the notable differences in their brains and the exponential Nature of the connection between these two facts, people who drink more can benefit more from drinking less – even if alcohol intake reduction is minimal.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of The Sized delivered to your inbox daily.