A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has found that a little alcohol consumption may help to clean brain effectively. According to the new study, moderate alcohol consumption will reduce inflammation in the brain, thus flushing out toxins, including beta-amyloid and tau proteins associated with the trigger of neuro diseases like Alzheimer's.
However, researchers said that prolonged intake of excessive amount of alcohol will create adverse effects on the central nervous system. The study report is published in Journal Scientific Reports.
"Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system. However, in this study we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to brain health, namely, it improves the brain's ability to remove waste," said Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the lead author of the study.
It was 2012 that a team of researchers headed by Nedergaard uncovered glymphatic system revealed how large volumes of cerebrospinal fluid are pumped through the brain to remove waste and other toxins.
During the study, researchers discovered that high amount of ethanol consumption in mice resulted in cognitive and motor skills impairment. Excessive consumption of alcohol also showed high levels of a molecular marker for inflammation.
However, mice who consumed an optimal amount of alcohol, equivalent to 2.5 drinks per day for humans showed an effective movement of cerebrospinal fluid. Among the mice group who consumed a little ethanol, cerebrospinal fluid moved through the brain and removed wastes effectively when compared to the group of mice which consumed a high amount of alcohol.
"The data on the effects of alcohol on the glymphatic system seemingly matches the J-shaped model relating to the dose effects of alcohol on general health and mortality, whereby low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health," said Nedergaard, reports the URMC website.
Nedergaard also added that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking will negatively impact a person's cognitive ability.