Do you have a daily glass of wine with dinner? What about a beer while watching a sports game?
Previous research had found that “moderate drinking”– one glass of alcohol per day for women versus two glasses per day for men– is healthy.
But, a new study conducted by Anya Topiwala and her team at the University of Oxford just revealed that these drinking habits might lead to cognitive decline.
The study included nearly twenty-one thousand participants from the UK Biobank who self-reported their own alcohol consumption before undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
About seven thousand participants also underwent liver imaging to determine systemic iron levels.
On average, each participant reported drinking seven and a half cans of beer– or six large glasses of wine– per week.
And the researchers found that this level of “moderate” drinking contributes to higher iron levels inside the brain– particularly in the basal ganglia region, which is responsible for motor movement control, procedural learning, emotion, cognition, and more.
People with elevated iron levels have been shown to develop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease– revealing that moderate drinking may accelerate alcohol-related cognitive decline.
This study conducted by the University of Oxford is the largest to date– and Topiwala hopes her findings will caution adults about daily drinking habits.