A pack of snarling prohibitionists with the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently issued a baseless manifesto against any and all alcohol consumption.
But — as I often report — research consistently shows moderate drinking benefits health. And even increases longevity. (Take, for instance, my lead story, “New scientific reason to eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season” in the November 2017 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, simply click here.)
Now, two new studies shed even more light on the important benefits of moderate drinking.
In the first study, U.S. researchers separated lab mice into two groups. The first group received the human equivalent of two-and-one-half drinks per day. The second group (the control group) did not receive any alcohol.
Turns out, the mice given moderate alcohol daily had less chronic inflammation in the brain. In addition, their brains eliminated beta amyloid and tau — toxic waste products that some associate with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia — more efficiently than the controls. In addition, the mice given alcohol performed just as well on cognitive and motor tests as the controls.
This is the first study to show that low-to-moderate doses of alcohol improve the brain’s ability to remove waste products through the lymphatic system. (As you may recall, amazingly, researchers only established two years ago that the brain has a lymphatic system, connected to the rest of body, which drains waste products and fluids.)
This finding shouldn’t come as some huge surprise…
Studies link moderate alcohol consumption with a lower risk of AD and dementia. (Although, excessive, heavy drinking increases the risk of cognitive decline.) In fact, late last year, I reported on a powerful studying showing moderate drinkers were twice as likely as non-drinkers to live to the age of 85 without dementia.
Hops tied to metabolic benefits
The second study that caught my eye honed-in on an ingredient in beer. I was actually pleased to see beer getting some attention in research circles, as a majority of the previous studies on alcohol had looked exclusively at the benefits of wine.
But, as I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter which type of alcohol you consume. As long as you consume it in moderation, you’ll gain health benefits.
For the new study, researchers focused on hops, the bitter-tasting flowers added to beers, especially India Pale Ales (IPAs).
Of course, the hops also have anti-microbial properties. In fact, beer-makers designed IPAs with extra hops to withstand the hot conditions during shipment from Europe to India during the 1800s before refrigeration.
In this study, researchers specifically looked at xanthohumol (XN), a polyphenol flavonoid in hops, and two of its derivatives called DXN and TXN.
Turns out, XN, DXN, and TXN improved glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in mice. They also improved sensitivity to leptin — a “satiety” hormone that makes you feel full when you’ve eaten.
This finding certainly runs counter to the advice to avoid alcohol — commonly doled out by doctors to their patients with metabolic syndrome. But it makes sense to me — as moderate alcohol of any kind improves circulation and blood flow, which supports both metabolic, brain, and cardiovascular health.
In fact, I vividly recall the teachings and observations of our clinicians and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital during the 1970s. We all saw how patients who drank alcohol had less heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
There’s no magic here.
Ultimately, moderate alcohol consumption works by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. And stress is the No. 1 killer behind high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Stress also contributes to other chronic diseases, including dementia, Type II diabetes, and even cancer!
It baffles me that anyone gives any credit to these modern-day prohibitionists. They tried it with the Volstead Act in 1919. But it was such a clear disaster, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration led the repeal in Congress in the early 1930s.
Today’s modern prohibitionists need to get with the science — and just realize they’re a century too late for their drastic, draconian tendencies to be taken seriously by anyone.
To read more about how alcohol increases your longevity — as well as other simple strategies for staying vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, and beyond — check out my brand-new protocol, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” I just released it this past weekend, so if you’d like to be one of the first classes of scholars to enroll, or if you’d just like to learn more, simply click here.
“Beneficial effects of low alcohol exposure, but adverse effects of high alcohol intake on glymphatic function,” Scientific Reports, 2018; 8