A series of longitudinal and neuro-imaging studies in the elderly have shown that light to moderate wine consumption is neuro-protective although heavy or abusive alcohol consumption is neuro-toxic. A J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption, cognitive dysfunction and risk of dementias is also observed for younger and middle aged consumers. There is no data to suggest that long-term light to moderate alcohol consumption aggravates age-related cognitive decline and impairment. An optimal amount of wine for neuro-protection appears to be up to 30 grams of alcohol daily. There are multiple plausible biological mechanisms for wine-derived phenolic compounds which go beyond their antioxidant activity and their ability to reduce oxidative stress.
“Wine consumption, cognitive function and dementias – A relationship?” Nutrition and Aging, 2016;3(2-4):125-137. 51289 Creina S. Stockley, The Australian Wine Research Institute, PO Box 197, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5061, Australia +61 8 83136600 / +61 8 83136601 (FAX)
Kirk’s Comment: So many ways to answer this question. You many times hear about a 100 year-old who drinks a few high-balls per day and mentally is clear as a bell!...But...One common answer is usually one drink for females and two drinks for males per day is to be considered healthy. With regards to wine, 10 grams of alcohol, which is said to be a drink, equals about 1/8 of a bottle of wine. So 30 grams, as mentioned above, would be 3/8s of a bottle…almost half! Though that seems like a lot to say you drink almost a half bottle of wine per night, I have many patients/couples who split a bottle of wine nightly, or at least several time per week, after a very hard day at work and/or with the kids, consumed with a late evening big meal. This is a prescription for weight gain, poor sleep, and “foggy” thinking in the morning. I have seen more dramatic weight loss and “foggy” thinking clear-up when people who nightly consume this amount of wine go alcohol-free for a month, and, I usually try to get them to get rid of all dairy products, wheat products and sugar for that month as well (see YouTube “"Yuppie Alcoholism," Losing Weight and Lowering Your Cholesterol” / Yuppie Alcoholism....Could This Be You?! ).
Alcohol consumption in the busy and stressful “Western Lifestyle” is different than "local" wine consumed in places like Sardinia or Acciaroli, Italy, or some Greek island where life is slower, people walk, socialize, and eat fresh, whole foods from the ocean or ground.
I believe if you have foggy thinking or memory issues stay off all alcohol for at least a month. See how your mind, weight, sleep and energy go, then have a drink or two daily, but always take breaks. Like every two months take a week or two to be entirely off alcohol so you 1) stay the “boss of it” and 2) you can see clearly what effects it has on your weight, energy, sleep and mentation…
Be and Stay Well,