Is moderate drinking the key to a longer life? A new study thinks so. For early stage Alzheimer’s patients, a couple of drinks a day could lower the risk of premature death.
Over 320 people in Denmark with early stage Alzheimer’s joined the study. Researchers followed participants for three years. What they noticed was surprising.
Participants who had two or three alcoholic drinks per day had a 77 percent lower risk of dying than those who consumed one or fewer alcoholic drinks daily. This reduced risk remained after researchers accounted for other factors, such as age, gender, smoking, and health problems other than Alzheimer’s.
Researchers note that they see an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Still, say Sine Berntsen from the University of Copenhagen and the study authors, “The results of our study point towards a potential, positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Another study of Germans ages 75 or older shows that moderate drinking may help prevent dementia. Over three years, participants who consumed two to three drinks per day decreased their dementia risk by up to sixty percent. This same study noted that overindulgence in alcohol causes health problems, and can induce its own dementia. Moderation is the key.
Moderate drinkers may have stronger social networks. People with these networks and communities tend to have a higher quality of life, which can be linked to longevity.
Before you start pouring drinks, however, consider your overall health. Researchers need more time to investigate alcohol’s effect on disease progression, including mental decline, in Alzheimer’s patients.
The study authors note that they can’t “encourage or advise against” moderate alcohol consumption based on their findings right now.