Just weeks after we are told that alcohol damages our DNA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) heard that having a couple of drinks a day is the way to live a long life!
Dr. Claudia Kawas, a neurologist, and her team at the University of California, Irvine conducted a study(1) on more than 1,700 people who lived in to their 90s and found that drink two glasses of wine or beer a day was a common thread in longevity. Indeed, it decreased the risk of dying prematurely by 18 per cent. Her work started in 2003 and has also shown that moderate exercise and having a hobby were also linked with longevity. Spending two hours a day on a hobby was linked with a 21 per cent lowered risk, and 15-45 minutes of exercise, just 11 per cent lowered risk of dying prematurely!
In a second study(2), it would appear from studies with mice that alcohol may help to remove toxins from the brain. Dr. Maiken Nedergaard and her team at Rochester Medical Center have shown that while excess alcohol damages the brain and nervous functions, a small amount daily seems to improve mental health in mice. Nedergaard has been studying the glymphatic system that removes toxic waste from the body. The mice having a modest dose of alcohol had improved glymphatic function. In 2013 she showed sleep was essential to its function.
All this contrasts with a third study recently that alcohol damages your DNA and can lead to cancer(3).
Confused? That’s alcohol for you.
1. The 90+ study: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research-studies/90plus-study/