The fact that alcohol has a negative effect onthe human body is no longer surprising - a warning about this is on the label of any beer or other drink containing alcohol. The brain suffers the most from alcohol, because such drinks reduce the volume of white and gray matter. As a result of such changes, a person begins to remember information worse, becomes less attentive and, in general, thinks poorly. There is an opinion that serious harm from alcohol is mainly received by people who abuse it, that is, they drink a lot and often. However, recently American scientists studied the structure of the brain of 36,000 adults and came to the conclusion that the brain is badly affected even by drinking one mug of beer a day. There are a lot of people who like to relax after a hard day's work with a glass of foamy drink, so let's look at the results of scientific work in more detail.
In a new study on the effect of alcohol onhuman body, scientists studied data from the British Biobank (UK Biobank) - a huge dataset with genetic and medical information about 500,000 middle-aged and older Britons. In particular, they studied the results of MRI scans of their brains, because they clearly show the amount of white and gray matter that is needed to transfer information in the form of nerve impulses between neurons.
The effect of alcohol on brain health
When examining the scan results,the researchers took into account age, gender, height, financial well-being and other data about the volunteers. The scientists also took into account how often people drink alcohol: some completely abstained from drinking alcohol, while others drank from four or more servings of beer, wine, and so on. After correlating data on people's health and their level of addiction to alcohol, scientists came to a disappointing conclusion - drinking even a small amount of alcohol per day provokes brain destruction.
According to scientists, if a person does not drink at all ordrinks one unit of alcohol a day, destructive processes in the brain practically do not occur. But it is important to consider that one alcoholic unit is equal to approximately 250 milliliters of beer per day - less than one can. If a person drinks more, the volume of gray and white matter begins to decrease rapidly. Especially alcohol harms older people. If a 50-year-old man increases the amount of foamy drink consumed from 250 milliliters a day to a 0.5 liter bottle, his brain will age 2 years earlier than if he led a sober lifestyle. In fairness, it is worth recalling that the human brain “dries up” on its own with age, so it’s better not to aggravate the situation.
It is important to note, that the relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the degree of brain damage is non-linear. The more and more often a person drinks, the faster and stronger his body is destroyed.
There is no safe amount of alcohol
According to one of the authors of the scientific work, HenryKranzler (Henry Kranzler), these results contradict the results of previous work, during which it was said that moderate alcohol consumption was harmless or even beneficial. The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women drink no more than one alcoholic drink a day, and men are allowed to drink twice as much. Perhaps these recommendations are wrong, and alcohol harms the brain in any amount.
Read also: Alcohol is the cause of cancer
How does alcohol damage the brain?
How alcohol damages the brainscientists do not know for sure. In the course of previous scientific work, researchers found that alcohol does not kill neurons themselves, but destroys the connections established between them - information begins to be transmitted worse and a person experiences memory problems. However, the results of some scientific works prove that these connections can be restored simply by giving up a bad habit. The authors of the new scientific work also want to know the cause-and-effect relationships, so they intend to continue research in this direction.
If you are interested in the news of science and technology, subscribe to our Telegram channel. There you will find announcements of the latest news from our site!
Notably, avoiding alcohol canimprove the functioning of not only the brain, but also other important organs. So, scientists believe that 30 days after the transition to a sober lifestyle, a person's heart function normalizes, skin improves, and even dental health is restored. You can read about other positive effects of quitting alcohol in this article.