Alcohol, Tea, etc
Home Up Abnormal Findings Alcohol, Tea, etc Causation Genetic Iron Hypertension Meat and Fat Mercury Risk Factors


Alcohol, Tea, and Coffee have all been fairly heavily researched.  Evidence suggests that each in moderation may be helpful in preventing dementia.  

Flavonoids Help: Wine, tea, fruits and vegetables are often high in anti-oxidant flavonoids. A study of 1367 over age 65 with 5 year follow-up and 66 new cases dementia found the relative risk for dementia for the one-third with the highest flavonoid intake only 0.55 and after correcting for gender, weight, education, and vitamin C intake, only RR 0.49. Bordeaux. Eur J Epidemiol 2000 Apr;16(4):357-63

Coffee Might Help Prevent Dementia: Small case-control study of 54 AD and 54 controls in Lisbon found 3-4 cups from age 25 associated with 60% decreased. Claims rats studies suggest benefit, too. Awful small study of limit quality. Using a logistic regression model, caffeine exposure during this period was found to be significantly inversely associated with AD (odds ratio=0.40), whereas hypertension, diabetes, stroke, head trauma, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin E, gastric disorders, heart disease, education and family history of dementia were not statistically significantly associated with AD. Does caffeine intake protect from Alzheimer's disease? Maia L, de Mendonca A. Eur J Neurol. 2002 Jul;9(4):377-82. 

Alcohol: Light Drinking, Especially Wine, Associated with Less Dementia: In a 2-year follow-up study of elderly people from six communities in Chongqing, China, after adjusting for age, sex, educational level and cigarette smoking, light-to-moderate drinking was associated with a significantly lower risk of dementia compared with non-drinking. Excessive drinking was related to a higher risk of dementia. The effect of light-to-moderate drinking seemed most prominent among vascular dementia: 0.63 for Alzheimer's disease, 0.31 for vascular dementia and 0.45 for other dementia. A light-to-moderate intake of beer was associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia than a non-drinker of beer. For wine, a significantly lower risk of dementia existed for a light-to-moderate drinker. A 2-year follow-up study of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia. Deng J, et al. Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2005 Aug 3.  

Alcohol Not Increase: In a small study of 513 East Boston adults screened, those drinking 1 drink/day had a non-significant 10% higher risk of Alzheimer's (RR 1.1) dementia, and therefore the authors concluded that moderate drinking is not a risk factor. Harvard, Am J Epid 92;135:347

Alcohol Not Risk Factor in Case Studies: An analysis of 11 case control studies found no increase in dementia with any level alcohol intake. The authors admit a need for prospective studies. Int J Epid 91;20 Suppl 2;48

1 Drink per Day Lowest Dementia: In a 4.2 year follow-up of 4,461 women ages 65-79 in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study with annual MMSE testing,  intake of 1 drink per day or more was associated with higher baseline Modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores (p < 0.001) and a 60% lower risk (covariate-adjusted OR 0.40) of declines in cognitive function. Intakes of <1 drink per day were intermediate. Association between reported alcohol intake and cognition: results from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study. Espeland MA, Gu L, et al. Wake Forest University. Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Feb 1;161(3):228-38.

1-6 Drinks per Week Lowest Dementia: Nested case-control of 373 patients with dementia and 373 controls from among 5888 elderly over age 65 had baseline MRIs and followed the individuals. Non-drinkers were used for comparison and given an odds ratio of OR 1.00.  Adults drinking alcohol but less than 1 drink/week had a 35% lower risk or an OR of 0.65.  Those drinking 1-6 drinks per week had a 54% decreased risk (OR 0.46); for 7-13 drinks per week the OR was 0.69; and for over 14 drinks per week, there was a 22% increased risk (OR 1.22). The results were similar for both AD and vascular dementia. Wine, beer, and liquor were all similar although the over 7 drink wine group did well and  while the over seven drink beer group did not do well.  However, the numbers of adults in these categories was too small to be significant. No association was found for women in Rotterdam study, but the results were similar to men here. Mukamal, Beth Israel, JAMA 3/19/03;289:1405-13

Japanese Wine/Sake Drinkers Lower: In a study of 2,000 adults over 40 followed for 4 years found 3-4 point higher IQ for those drinking 1-3 per day vs. teetotalers (106-8 vs. 103-4) and even bigger difference vs. heavy drinkers. Tokyo Reuters 11/26/00. Important details not included in report.

Wine Protective; Not Liquor or Beer: In a 4-year follow-up study of 980 adults over age 64 from the Washington Heights Inwood-Columbia Aging Project, 260 individuals developed dementia (199 AD, 61 Dementia Associated with Stroke). After adjusting for age, sex, apolipoprotein E (APOE)-epsilon 4 status, education, and other alcoholic beverages, only intake of up to three daily servings of wine was associated with a lower risk of AD (hazard ratio=0.55). Intake of liquor, beer, and total alcohol was not associated with a lower risk of AD. Stratified analyses by the APOE-epsilon 4 allele revealed that the association between wine consumption and lower risk of AD was confined to individuals without the APOE-epsilon 4 allele. Alcohol intake and risk of dementia. Luchsinger JA, et al. Columbia University. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Apr;52(4):540-6.

Wine No Benefit Dementia: While moderate wine consumption was found to be associated with a fourfold diminishing of the risk of Alzheimer's disease (OR = 0.26), as found in other studies, this effect was found to disappear when institutionalization was taken into account. Wine consumption was associated with an increased risk of decline over time in attention and in secondary memory. : Int J Epidemiol 1999 Feb;28(1):77

Coffee, Exercise, Wine, NSAID Preventive: Increasing age, fewer years of education, and the apolipoprotein E varepsilon 4 allele were significantly associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, wine consumption, coffee consumption, and regular physical activity were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. No statistically significant association was found for family history of dementia, sex, history of depression, estrogen replacement therapy, head trauma, antiperspirant or antacid use, smoking, high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. 4600 elderly followed in Canadian Study on Aging. Am J Epidemiol 2002 Sep 1;156(5):445-53

1-3 Drinks per Day Lowest, Any Alcohol Helps: Erasmus University in Rotterdam, six-year study of 5,395 people aged 55 and over who did not have signs of dementia. 197 of the participants had developed Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. one-three drinks a day = 42 % lower risk than the nondrinkers. Those who weren't daily drinkers but had more than one drink per week had a 25 % lower risk and those who drank less than a glass a week were 18 percent less likely than nondrinkers to develop dementia. No difference between types of alcohol. Lancet 1/24/02. (Ed: In view of the serious addictive risks and harm of alcohol, I advise a maximum of 1 drink per day and waiting until age 45 to start drinking.)

Less than Daily Drinking Best: Wine Only Preventive in Occasional Drinkers in Danish Study: A 20 year follow-up of 1600 adults found no difference in dementia in daily wine drinkers although a decrease in weekly to monthly drinkers was documented. Also, an increase in occasional beer drinkers. Neuro 11/12/02, Copenhagen.

Moderate Drinking and Seafood Prevented Dementia: In the PAQUID study of 2,950 initially non-demented adults over 65, at follow-up moderate drinkers had a decreased relative risk of developing a dementia in the subsequent 8 years (RR=0.56) compared to non-drinkers. In a sub-sample of 1416 subjects, those who ate fish or seafood at least once a week had a significant reduced risk of incident dementia adjusted for age and sex (RR=0.66). Nutritional Factors and Risk of Incident Dementia in the PAQUID Longitudinal Cohort. Larrieu S, et al. Universite Victor Segalen Bordeaux. J Nutr Health Aging. 2004;8(3):150-4

Alcohol No Impact on Stroke; May Increase Brain Atrophy: MRIs to measure the brains of 1,909 men and women, age 55 and older. All were randomly selected from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Drinking habits either as never drank, former drinker, occasional drinker (less than one drink per week), low drinker (one to six drinks per week) or moderate drinker (seven to 14 drinks per week).  As alcohol consumption increased, the MRI detected increases in the ventricular and sulcal areas of the brain, which are spaces that do not contain brain tissue and an indication of brain atrophy. However, they found no consistent association between alcohol intake and the presence of infarctions or white matter lesions. After adjusting for factors such as smoking habits, body mass and income, the researchers found no reduction or protection in infarction associated with former drinkers or moderate drinkers. In addition, they did not find an association between alcohol intake and white matter lesions. Alcohol Intake and Cerebral Abnormalities on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in a Community-Based Population of Middle-aged Adults. Jingzhong Ding, et al. Stroke 12/5/03

Thomas E. Radecki, M.D., J.D.