Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is alcohol good for the brain?

77. Continuing our line of thought on wine and the brain, we turn to the question of alcohol's effects. Haven't we always assumed that alcohol kills brain cells, and so any positive aspects of drinking must be weighed against this? True, at high doses alcohol (as with anything for that matter) is toxic, but a recent review from Loyola University pointed to experimental evidence that moderate alcohol levels exert direct "neuroprotective" actions; that is, in addition to promoting healthy blood vessels that improve blood flow to the brain, the direct effects of alcohol on nerve cells are protective, at least in moderate amounts.
Add this to the list of healthy effects of alcohol in moderation where cardiovascular disease is concerned, and keep it in mind the next time you see an ad for some supplement touting "all the benefits of wine without the alcohol" because that is of course not possible.

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