Should You Drink a Little Alcohol Every Day? Light Alcohol Intake Saves Memory in Those Over 60

Red_Wine_GlassAs you get older, should you drink alcohol (in moderation) or not?

This study, “Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Cognition and Regional Brain Volumes Among Older Adults,” (you can read it here… )  suggests that there are benefits to memory from moderate consumption of alcohol. Many previous studies have shown the benefits of red wine for example, or small amounts of alcohol, while numerous studies also show great harm from consumption of large amounts of alcohol.

The U-shaped curve of ethanol consumption and cardiovascular mortality has been well established since the 1986 article “Coronary heart disease mortality and alcohol consumption in Framingham”. (That article can be found here… ) Those who consume no alcohol have a very high incidence of heart disease and mortality, while those who consume some alcohol (moderation) have much less heart disease. At the highest levels of alcohol consumption, the mortality goes back up. An earlier study from 1981 with Kaiser patients controlled for smoking and other risk factors, showed that 1-2 drinks a day individuals had the lowest risk, those taking 3-5 drinks had moderate risk and those drinking over 5 drinks a day the highest risks as did the non-drinkers. (Read more here… )

I credit Dr Woodrow Monte, and his landmark book “While Science Sleeps,” with the eloquent explanation of why low to moderate alcohol consumption is a health benefit. (Read more about this here… )  His book teaches that methanol (wood alcohol) enters our bodies mostly from cigarette/tobacco and aspartame and, to a lesser extent, from canned fruits and vegetables.  Having lost the enzyme catalase (most other animals have this enzyme), humans convert the toxic methanol to formaldehyde in areas of the body where we have alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). Unfortunately, ADH is in the brain, eyes, blood vessels, skin, breasts, kidneys, bone, pancreas, lungs, fetus and liver. In these areas of our body, the formaldehyde triggers cancer, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, disease, and dysfunction. Think of the diseases of civilization, those things that are most common since tobacco in the 1900’s and aspartame in the 1980’s and you have a clue.

I come from a long line of ministers and advocates of abstention from alcohol.  I have some alcoholism in my distant relatives and lots of workaholics in my family. For many of us, drinking even a little alcohol puts us at the great risk of alcoholism, and for those of us in that category, I do NOT recommend drinking any alcohol.  For the rest who can split a beer as my parents used to do, leave a wine glass half full, and not drink again for days or weeks, you may prolong your life and avoid many of the diseases of civilization by taking that one drink a day.  My friend, and author of the book While Science Sleeps, puts the equivalent of one shot (ounce) of vodka in a gallon of water that he drinks throughout the day, thus giving himself protection all day long form the ravages of ADH and formaldehyde.  You see ethanol keeps the ADH enzyme busy so it cannot convert the tiny amount of methanol to formaldehyde.


Dr. Paul






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