One of the basic principles articulated regularly on this website is that 50% of disease, clinic visits, and hospitalizations are totally unnecessary because they can be eliminated by simple nutritional or lifestyle strategies. Here is one for Alzheimer’s disease that reduces risk by 45%. There are other strategies that will drive the risk down even lower.
Wine May Cut Alzheimer’s Risk
Life Enhancement Foundation, May 2004
Just in case you needed another justification for drinking wine (but only in moderation, of course), here comes a study from Columbia University in New York that seeks to determine whether elderly American wine drinkers enjoy a degree of protection from Alzheimer’s disease similar to that of their European counterparts.1 (We already know about the cardiovascular benefits of moderate wine consumption, which also seems to confer protection against cancer.)
For 4 years, researchers followed 980 elderly Manhattanites who were free of any dementia at the outset of the study. During that period, 260 of the subjects developed dementia: there were 199 cases of Alzheimer’s disease and 61 cases of vascular dementia.
Sure enough, the results showed that drinking wine—up to three glasses a day—substantially reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Compared with the nondrinkers, the wine drinkers’ risk was 45% lower. No such benefit was seen with other alcoholic beverages—probably because they don’t contain resveratrol, the chemical compound believed to be primarily responsible for wine’s remarkable health-giving properties. (Resveratrol may also play an important role in extending human lifespan; see “Resveratrol May Be a Longevity Molecule” in Life Enhancement, November 2003.)
Two caveats: (1) no benefit from wine drinking was seen in this study in people with the APOE epsilon-4 gene, which predisposes one to Alzheimer’s; and (2) most medical authorities caution against drinking more than one or two glasses of wine a day (three glasses tops), because beyond that amount, the health benefits quickly disappear and become health liabilities.
Anon. Wine seems to reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk. Reuters Health report, New York, April 5, 2004.