Despite rising attitudes that red wine is a healthful drink, new research from Rutgers University says that just two glasses of wine a day can reduce adult brain cell production by 40 percent. Matters may not be quite so simple, however. Lead author Megan Anderson claims there is a fine line between moderate and binge drinking, and that one can become the other “without the person realizing it.”
Inhibits Learning and Memory
In the Rutgers experiment, rats were used to model moderate to heavy drinking in people. Although motor skills and short-term associative learning were not affected by a blood alcohol level of of 0.08, the American legal driving limit, brain cell production was. This could be detrimental to human adults due to the communication that takes place between new cells and other neurons.
“If this area of your brain was affected every day over many months and years, eventually you might not be able to learn how to get somewhere new or to learn something new about your life.”
Moderation and Healthy Lifestyles
What, then, about the recent studies in red wine reducing breast cancer and protecting skin against sunburn? Rather than discrediting these studies, the Rutgers study might serve as a cautionary reminder: everything in moderation.
Additionally, some skeptics add that resveratrol—an antioxidant found in red wine as well as grapes and berries—have no beneficial effects Purely by being an antioxidant, however, resveratrol is a good ally in any diet, reported in several studies to halt metabolic syndrome and diabetes as well as reducing inflammation and therefore preventing Parkinson’s disease.
It’s worth considering that resveratrol in its natural environment—red wine, berries, grapes, and peanuts—may interact with other nutrients and have more healthful effects than purely in supplementary form. It could also be that individuals who enjoy (key word: enjoy) a daily drink in good company in a stress-free environment simply live longer and conquer disease easier.
Time and further research will tell.