Drinking Is Bad for Your Brain

Two-plus drinks per day speeds mental decline

Jan 16, 2014
Outside Magazine

You might want to stop at one.    Getty Images

There’s nothing like cracking open a beer after a long day’s work—right, fellas? If you’re over the age of 50, though, maybe hold yourself to a two-drink limit.

A study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology found that middle-aged men who drank 2.5 or more alcoholic beverages (or, 36 grams) daily were more likely to experience rapid mental losses during their next decade of life than light or moderate drinkers, the AP reports.

The study, which used data from 5,000 British civil servants over 20 years, first started tracking participants when they were an average age of 56. Then it tracked decline in memory, attention, and reasoning skills in a series of tests administered to the men every five years.

Heavy drinkers—those who drank 2.5 or more alcoholic beverages daily during a 10-year stretch—experienced mental declines up to six years faster than those drinking 1.5 or fewer drinks daily, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The study found an association with drinking and cognitive decline, but not a cause-and-effect relationship.

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!