Skip to main content

Wine and Alzheimer's disease: drink for brain health

In this section we consider one of the major epidemics of our times, Alzheimer's disease. With the baby boom generation graying, the millions of new cases of this debilitating problem loom ominously. Drug therapies to date have had disappointing results. Fortunately, there is some evidence that wine drinking and other lifestyle factors can have an effect. So our count of 101 healthy reasons to drink wine continues with:
79. The Canadian Study of Health and Aging found that wine, coffee, regular exercise, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen were associated with the lowest risk of Alzheimer's.
80. The Copenhagen City Heart Study, a 15-year follow-up of more than 1700 subjects, found that wine consumption but not beer or spirits correlated with lower risk of Alzheimer's.
81. The Catholic University of Rome multicenter study found that drinking up to 2 bottles of wine per day for men and one for women correlated with higher scores on standardized testing of mental acuity and lower risk of Alzheimer's. (It must be pointed out that this level of consumption would have a range of detrimental effects in other categories, but it is a testament to the beneficial effects of wine on the brain nonetheless.)
82. The Bordeaux study, with perhaps the most dramatic findings of all, found that wine drinkers had an 80% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in a population age 65 and older.


Popular posts from this blog

How globalization of drinking habits threatens the French paradox

It seems that the more studies we see on the relationship between wine and health, and the larger they are, the more contradictory the results. Headlines summarizing comprehensive international studies declare the French paradox dead, and all alcoholic beverages are equally detrimental. I think there is an overlooked explanation for this: over the past several decades, convergence of drinking patterns around the world has separated wine from its role as a daily part of a meal. Globalization has commoditized our views about drink, toppling it from its role as a culturally specific emblem. Global convergence of drinking There are several recent reports summarizing the trend,[i],[ii],[iii]and it applies for both developed and developing countries. Since the early 1960s, wine’s share of global alcohol consumption has more than halved, declining from 35% to 15%. Beer and spirits have taken up the slack, with beer gaining 42% and spirits adding 43%, both large gains. The bigger story howeve…

Wear red and DRINK red for women’s heart health

This Friday Feb 2nd is the annual “wear red” day in Canada and the U.S. to raise awareness for women’s heart health. Why only a day for the number one threat to women’s health? Women are 5 times more likely to succumb to heart disease than breast cancer, which gets a whole month (October.) Another contradiction is that the advice women hear about prevention of breast cancer is the opposite of what you can do to lower the risk of heart disease: a daily glass of wine. Even one drink a day raises your risk of breast cancer, we are told, ignoring the overriding benefits of wine on heart health. Drink red wine to live longer Here’s why I think women should also “drink red.” For starters, wine helps de-stress and celebrates life. Stress is a factor in heart disease, and if that were the only way wine helped it would be worth considering. But the medical evidence is also strong: a daily glass of red wine helps raise the HDL “good cholesterol” levels, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular p…

Which types of wine are the healthiest?

I am often asked after lecturing on the healthful properties of wine which type is best to drink. Since much of the discussion has to do with the polyphenol antioxidants from the skins and seeds of the grape, red wine is the first criterion since it is fermented with the whole grape rather than the pressed juice. This allows for extraction and concentration of these compounds, familiar ones being resveratrol and tannins. But beyond that, which varietals have the highest concentrations?

According to the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, “The best kind of wine is that which is pleasant to him that drinks it” but modern science expects more specifics. (The point of course is that if you have a wine that you enjoy you are more likely to drink regularly and therefore reap the benefits.) But there are several difficulties in singling out certain wines for their healthful properties. Which compounds to measure? Are we talking about heart health or the whole gamut? Is it the varietal of the …