Many people in the world are used to consuming alcoholic beverages, but numerous scientific studies have found potentially harmful effects on it. A new work adds evidence totally ruling out that there is a safe way to drink alcohol without exposing yourself to risks.
Drinking alcohol reduces the volume of gray matter in the brain
The researchers examined alcohol intake among nearly 25,000 UK residents and reviewed images of their brains taken using brain scans. Thus they discovered that the more people drank alcohol, the less was the volume of gray matter inside their brain.
“The more people drank, the lower the volume of their gray matter,” Anya Topiwala, the study’s lead author, told CNN news agency. “Brain volume decreases with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts poorer performance on memory tests. “
It does not matter the type of drink or the amount: drinking alcohol is harmful
Perhaps the most important conclusion the study authors reached is that there does not appear to be a totally safe way to consume alcohol. It seems that it does not matter even the type of drink, nor to drink a lot or a little; in fact, drinking any type of alcohol was worse than not drinking all of it.
“A safe dose of alcohol for the brain was not found,” the authors wrote. “Moderate consumption is associated with more widespread adverse effects on the brain than previously recognized.”
Although the health sciences have long warned that alcoholic beverages can have harmful effects, their consumption remains high in virtually the entire world.
Many people take it in moderation believing that simply by not falling into the addiction or by not drinking until they are drunk, they are exempt from guilt or risks, but the reality is different and quite harsh.
“Many people drink ‘moderately’ and think this is harmless or even protective,” Topiwala said. “As we have yet to find a ‘cure’ for neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, knowing the factors that can prevent brain damage is important for public health.”
Study confirms previous findings on the risks of alcoholic beverages
But these results shouldn’t be such a surprise. In 2016, for example, alcohol consumption topped the list of risk factors that caused illness and death, in both men and women between the ages of 15 and 49. In addition, another study published in 2018 revealed that almost 10 percent of all deaths that occurred globally were linked to alcoholic beverages.
While the frequency with which it is consumed certainly influences its health effects, this new research provides evidence that deserves public attention. The reduction of gray matter in the brain, which is responsible for something as important as information processing and makes us “intelligent”, can trigger greater evils, as the author warned.
But beyond the brain, drinking alcohol can increase the risk of many other serious diseases, and even affect mood and trigger addictions. Therefore, there is enough reason to improve strategies to address both your marketing and consumption.
No safe level of alcohol consumption for brain health: observational cohort study of 25,378 UK Biobank participants. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.10.21256931v1
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