Research shows that people who drink up to 2 drinks a day live longer than teetotalers. (Fun fact: I just learned from the new Ken Burns PBS special on prohibition that the etymology of teetotaler is from the "T" in temperance — if you completely abstained from alcohol, your T was total!)
New research shows that moderate drinkers also have healthier brains than teetotalers, and are less likely to develop dementia!
Researchers at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois analyzed 143 studies on the effects of alcohol on the brain. They found that moderate drinking — no more than 2 drinks a day for a man, and no more than 1 a day for a woman — reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia by 23%. And it didn't matter what type of alcohol was consumed. Beer, wine, and spirits were equally effective. But more wasn't merrier. Heavy drinking — more than 3 to 5 drinks a day — was linked to a higher risk of dementia.
This study provides more evidence that so-called "vices" — those habits that some doctors tell you are unhealthy — are often actually good for you. They include drinking (moderately), an ounce or so a day of dark chocolate (yum!), sunbathing (but never to the point of getting a sunburn), sex (as much as you want!), and the so-called "deadly" sin of sloth (go ahead and relax — you deserve it!). How does the "vice" of alcohol work to help prevent dementia? No one really knows. But I suspect the fact that it's fun to have a drink or two with your family and friends has a lot to do with it!
Another, non-alcoholic way to reduce dementia is the Indian spice curcumin, particularly taken in the highly absorbable form found in many curcumin-based pain-relief supplements.
"Moderate alcohol consumption and cognitive risk." Neafsey EJ, Collins MA.Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011;7:465-84. Epub 2011 Aug 11.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.