16 Jul Alcohol and Dementia Risk Explained
A new study published in JAMA Network Open sheds light on how alcohol consumption affects dementia risk and it is fascinating!!
Researchers followed over 4 million Koreans and asked about drinking behaviors at 2 time points 2 years apart and then assessed dementia incidence 7 years later. Mild drinking was defined as 1 drink a day. Moderate consumption as 1 to 2 drinks a day. Heavy drinking as 3 or more drinks a day. Compared to consistently not drinking, mild and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a 21% and 17% decreased risk for dementia, respectively. Heavy drinking was linked to an 8% increased risk.
This is the interesting piece: When the researchers analyzed dementia risk for nondrinkers who began drinking at mild levels during the study period, they found something unexpected ― the risk in this group decreased by 7% for dementia and by 8% for Alzheimer’s compared to sustained mild drinkers.
Bottom line: if you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and keep consumption relatively low, you can keep doing what you’re doing (at least when it comes to dementia risk). But note, that most people don’t have a great awareness of serving sizes of alcohol. It’s worthwhile to pay attention to how much wine you pour into your glass!