Moderate drinking – two drinks or less daily for men and one or less for women – appears to help protect against coronary artery disease and heart attack, and now a study in the Netherlands has suggested that two drinks a day may reduce an older person’s risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The latest news on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol comes from Spain where researchers at the University of Navarra followed more than 5,500 light-to-moderate drinkers between the age 55 and 80 for seven years. The investigators found that those who drank two to seven glasses of wine a week – in other words, no more than one drink per day – were the least likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who didn’t drink any alcohol. When they enrolled in the study, none of the participants were depressed or had a personal or family history of depression or problems with alcohol. The study also found that drinking more than seven glasses of wine per week didn’t lower the risk of depression. The Spanish findings don’t prove that moderate drinking prevents depression – however, they do suggest an association between the two.
Miguel A Martínez-González et al, “Alcohol intake, wine consumption and the development of depression: the PREDIMED study”, BMC Medicine, doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-192