More than 5.7 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in 2018. While there is currently no cure for this degenerative disease, one unlikely activity may reduce the risk of developing dementia: drinking alcohol.

Drinking For Dementia Prevention?

As counterintuitive as it may seem, drinking alcohol during middle age may help people avoid different forms of dementia.

This interesting conclusion was published in the British Medical Journal after research found that people who never drink are 50% more likely to develop a dementia-related disease.

Behind The Research

Researchers analyzed 9,000 individuals between the ages of 35 and 55. They found that abstaining from alcohol completely would increase the risk for dementia, but that’s not all.

The researchers found that individuals who drank more than the recommended 14 units per week also had an increased risk for dementia. And that risk increased the more alcohol each participant drank. The sweet spot seemed to be between 1 and 14 units per week.

Drinking Double Entendre

While the researchers admit there may be an unknown factor increasing the risk for both the non-drinking and heavy-drinking individuals, they do know that staying social as you age will help keep the mind active. However, health professionals will never recommend alcohol for health purposes due to other risks associated with drinking.

“Current alcohol guidelines recommend not regularly drinking more than 14 units a week for both men and women, and drinking over this amount impacts on a number of health conditions, not only dementia,” said Dr. Sara Imarisio, the head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK. “We know that a healthy lifestyle, including cutting down on too much alcohol, can improve health and reduce dementia risk, and a good motto tends to be, what is good for your heart is good for your brain.”