Alcohol-Consumption for Seniors and Alcohol Induced Dementia


June 13, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Senior Health Issues



Many individuals utilize alcohol as a relaxation agent at the end of the day or for ease at social events, or possible to simply enjoy life a little more.  While limited to moderate alcohol use has shown certain health benefits, daily overuse, can in some cases lead to health consequences that are exacerbated as we get older.

The use of wine has been consistent for centuries in Europe and Mediterranean regions. In some cases, a glass of wine appears to have helpful qualities.  There is a phrase known as the French paradox, used to describe what has been reported as a low incidence in coronary artery disease in France even though they eat a diet high in saturated fats. This term was first coined in 1990 by a scientist from the Bordeaux University in France named, Serge Renaud. One possible reason given for the French paradox is their use of red wine with their meals.

Modern science has identified the polyphenol called resveratrol as a compound found in wine that may be responsible for its fat-fighting capabilities.  Though controversy remains and clinical applications have not been proven, resveratrol, may be the substance in wine claimed to help prevent fatty foods from being converted into fatty tissue in the body.

Beyond resveratrol, and showing more promising results, research from the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry found another polyphenol called piceatannol.  This chemical, found in the skin of the grape and ending up in red wine, has shown that it effectively blocks fat cell formation in laboratory settings.

Previous research has shown that resveratrol was linked to lower levels of fat.  But resveratrol is metabolized rather quickly in humans and washes through the body before it has a chance to do much good. Piceatannol, a derivative and matabolite of resveratrol, is more difficult for the human body to digest and remains in the body longer—thereby doing more good.  This is due to piceatannol’s chemical structure containing an additional hydrogen and oxygen molecule.

Given the positive research associated with wine drinking, and the possible health benefits derived for low to moderate wine consumption, many seniors are not drinking in moderation.  Unfortunately research studies show that this group tends to binge drink more frequently than any other demographic category.   This may include wine and other forms of alcohol that don’t exhibit the polyphenol benefits wine may provide.

There are many physical disadvantages to excessive alcohol consumption including but not limited to Cirrhosis, neuropathy, high blood pressure, gout, seizures, anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis and pancreatitis. Additionally, the mental health drawbacks of depression, alcohol and induced dementia that could lead to Alzheimer’s, can many times be overlooked as a result of a lifetime of alcohol abuse.

Alzheimer’s has long been associated with a protein called beta-amyloid, and fibrous tangles that buildup in the brain.  But new research published in the British Journal of Psychology has experts also believing that alcohol-related dementia could possibly result from a large reduction in cortical neurons in the brain as a result of lifetime alcohol abuse.  The struggle for doctor’s accurate diagnosis of alcohol-induced dementia is difficult as they must acquire years of their patients life and clinical history in order to make a proper diagnosis.

New research is simply confirming what common sense tells us is true.  Overdoing anything for prolonged periods is detrimental to our bodies.   If we want to keep our health and our minds to a ripe old age, we should limit our use of alcohol and use our common sense in all of our lifestyle choices.

Disclaimer: The suggestions above are only to be considered as general health concepts and are not to be considered as medical advice or a replacement for the advice of a personal physician.  Before starting any program where a change in diet and exercise is undertaken, always consult with a physician first.  Every individual and condition is different and specific medical conditions may prevent some individuals from embracing some of the practices detailed above.  Senior Home Locators and its owners are not responsible for the accuracy of the content or the results of any use of the information contained in this posting. 

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