Alcohol and Risk of Dementia: Light & Moderate Drinking Reduces Risk of Developing Dementia


Scientists analyzed previous research on drinking alcohol and risk of dementia. To do so, they conducted a meta-analysis of prospective studies.

Dementia has various causes. Therefore, the researchers included 11 studies with 73,330 participants and 4,586 cases for all-cause dementia. They had five studies with 52,715 participants and 1,267 cases of Alzheimer’s dementia. And there were four studies with 49,535 participants and 542 cases of vascular dementia.

Thus, their analysis involved data from 20 different studies with 175,580 participants and 6,395 cases of dementia. And the dementia was from various causes.

Alcohol and Risk of Dementia

alcohol and risk of dementiaThey reported that light and moderate alcohol drinkers had a lower risk of all types of dementia. Interestingly, heavy drinkers did not have a higer risk.

Earlier researchers also made a meta-analysis of research on the same subject. They found that moderate drinkers of alcohol had a 23% lower risk of developing any form of dementia. That’s in comparison to non-drinkers.1

Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

We can reduce our risk of developing dementia.

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Drink alcohol frequently and in moderation.
  • Maintain a safe blood pressure level.
  • Maintain proper cholesterol levels.
  • Treat diabetes.
  • Maintain proper weight.

Moderate drinking improves cardiovascular health and circulation. A major cause of dementia is poor blood circulation in the brain. Therefore, things that are good for the cardiovascular system are generally good for the brain. In turn, that’s good for cognition.

Source for Alcohol and Risk of Dementia

Xu, W., et al. Alcohol consumption and dementia risk. A dose-response meta- analysis of prospective studies. Eur J Epide, 2017, 32, 31- 42.

Popular Readings

Barak, Y. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. NY: Nova Biomedical, 2013.

Gray-Davidson, F. When Your Parent has Alzheimer’s. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris, 2000.

McNamara, P. Dementia. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011.

National Institute on Aging. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. Gaithersburg, MD: The Institute, 2012.

Quinn, J. Dementia. Chichester, Eng: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.


Neafsey E. and Collins M. Moderate alcohol consumption and cognitive risk. Neuropsych Dis Treat, 2011, 7, 465-484.