Drinking Reduces Alzheimer’s: This Might Help Explain Why

Research has shown that alcohol drinking reduces Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other causes of dementia. This has long been true.

Recently, research has implicated plaques in the brain in causing AD. And a cause of such plaques are beta-amyloid peptides. These are short links of amino acids.

OK, so this isn’t a chemistry class. The important thing is that moderate drinking appears to reduce these peptides.

I. The Study

Researchers at Seoul National University and several other schools studied this question. That is, does drinking reduce amyloids in the brain.

To do so, they tested 414 people. They ranged in age from 56 to 90. None had dementia or alcohol-related illnesses. But about one-third had mild cognitive impairment. All were part of a major study

First, the researchers categorized subjects. There were abstainers. Infrequent drinkers had less than one drink per week. Moderate drinkers had one to 13 per week. And heavy drinkers had 14 or more drinks weekly. The study excluded bingers and former drinkers.

Then researchers tested for amyloids in the brain. They used three different brain imaging scans. As a result, they found that moderate lifetime alcohol drinkers had much less amyloid deposition. That’s in comparison with non-drinkers. The same was true in comparison to both occasional and heavy drinkers.

The researchers tested for other reasons for the findings. So they adjusted for body weight, occupation, income and depression. Yet the findings remained.

drinking reduces Alzheimer'sAlso, it didn’t matter which form of alcohol people drank. That is, whether it was beer, wine, or spirits. (Spirits are vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, rum, etc.) This is true in most studies. The most important content of alcoholic drinks is the alcohol itself.

II. Resources: Drinking Reduces Alzheimer’s 

Popular Sources

drinking reduces Alzheimer’sAmen, D. Preventing Alzheimers. DVD video. Newport Beach, CA: Mindworks, 2004.

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

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

Levine, R. Defying Dementia. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006.

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

Nat Inst Aging. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. Gaithersburg, MD: The Institute, 2012.

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

Research Readings

Britton, A. et al. Drinking and cognitive function. Am J Epi, 2004,160(3), 240–7.

Huang, W. et al. Drinking and incidence of dementia. J Clin Epi, 2002, 55(10),959–64.

Kim, J. et al. Alcohol and cognition in the elderly: a review. Psych Inves. 2012, 9(1), 8–16.

Lang, I. et al. Moderate drinking in older adults: better cognition  than abstinence. Age Ageing. 2007, 36(3), 256–61. 

McGuire, L. et al. Cognitive functioning in late life: the impact of moderate drinking. Ann Epi, 2007, 17(2), 93–9.

Mukamal, K. et al. Prospective study of drinking and risk of dementia. JAMA, 2003, 289(11), 1405–13.

Ngandu, T. et al. Alcohol drinking and cognitive functions. Dem Geri Cogn Disord, 2007, 23(3),140–9.

Panza, F. et al. Alcohol drinking, cognitive functions in older age. J Alz Dis, 2009, 17(1), 7–31.

Peters, R. et al. Alcohol, dementia and cognitive decline. Age Ageing, 2008, 37(5), 505–12.

Ruitenberg, A. et al. Drinking and risk of dementia. Lancet, 2002, 359(9303), 281–6.

Stampfer, M. et al. Effects of moderate drinking on cognitive function in women. N Eng J Med, 2005, 352(3), 245–53.

Xu, W. et al. Drinking and dementia risk. Eur J Epi, 2017, 32(1), 31–42.

Weyerer, S. et al. Current drinking and dementia. Age Ageing, 2011, 40(4), 456–63.


Kim, J. et al. Association of moderate alcohol intake with in vivo amyloid-beta deposition in human brain. PLOS Med, 2020, 17(2).


This website is for information only. Thus, it gives no advice. Please see a doctor for advice about drinking.