Beer And Alzheimer's
2012 Health Benefits of Beer
Modern research has shown that particular ingredients in beer may reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease in which there is a progressive degeneration of cognitive and memory functions. It is one of the most wide spread types of dementia globally.
One body of research proposes that the mineral element aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s. When aluminum is taken up in the digestive system, it acts as a neurotoxin (poison in the body’s nerve system). They suggest that the silicon component in beer may act to decrease the digestive uptake and accumulation of aluminum thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Beer and Alzheimer’s studies have been carried out in Spain laboratories on mice. During the experiments, mice that received silicon supplements in their diet had distinctly lower levels of aluminum in their blood as well as in the excreted in feces. Also noted were smaller amounts of aluminum accumulations in the tissues including the brain. By reducing the level of aluminum deposits in the body, silicon is consequently believed to give protection against the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.
Most beers are made from barley and hops which are a rich source of silicon. Wines also contain significant amounts of silicon. The malting and other beer brewing process does now heavily impact the silicon content which is consequently passed onto the final beverage. Hard liquors don’t have the same silicon qualities as beer and wine as it seems that a lot of the mineral is lost during the liquor-making techniques.
These studies suggested that moderate consumption of one or two glasses of beer a day offers some neuro-protection by reducing the chance of aluminum impairment upon the brain.
Some doctors propose that moderate drinking of alcohol can minimize the risk of dementia and the decline in cognitive functions later on in life. Different studies on beer show that this alcohol may have positive effects on short term memory. New Zealand scientists have been studying the process by which certain alcohols such as beer improve short-term memory which is symptomatic in a number of dementia diseases and in victims of strokes. Published studies state that in people with cases of mild cognitive degeneration, taking up to one alcoholic drink a day decreases the progression of dementia by 85% more than similar people who remain teetotalers.
In a separate scenario, beer and Alzheimer’s research done on women over the age of 65 found that mild to moderate alcohol consumption improved several areas of cognitive function including memory, reasoning abilities, concentration and language skills. It is believed that alcohol creates improved mental ability by enhancing the blood circulation in the brain and that it also enhances the neurotransmitter chemicals that carry out message functions in the brain.
Scientists and physicians, however, caution strongly against promoting beer as a nutritional alternative to good dietary habits. Beer and Alzheimer’s benefits, they emphasis, will only likely occur with the consumption of moderate amounts, taking into consideration both the age and gender of the individual. The risks of high beer consumption far outweigh the health benefits.