Odd Enough What drinking 8 or more beers a week does to your brain

You don’t need to knock back a lot before the damage starts.

  • Published:
Swap a pint of lager (208 calories) for a Barbell Brew Beer (92 calories). play

Swap a pint of lager (208 calories) for a Barbell Brew Beer (92 calories).

(Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker / Pavelis)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Drinking just a couple beers throughout the week may be hurting your health more than you think: Even moderate drinking can damage your brain, new research from the University of Oxford in the U.K. suggests.

In the study, researchers recruited 550 people, tracked their weekly alcohol intake, and measured their performance on brain tasks over a 30-year period. Then, they performed MRIs on them to analyze their brain structure.

They discovered that people who drank moderately—14 to 21 units of alcohol per week—were three times as likely to have deterioration in the right side of their hippocampus than those who abstained from alcohol. That’s important, since that area of the brain affects your memory and spatial navigational skills. Atrophy there is also a marker of Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers say.

Here’s what that means for your pub visits: Each unit contains eight grams of alcohol, and a standard drink is roughly 14 grams of alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular, 5 percent alcohol beer, or 5 ounces of 12 percent alcohol wine. So that means drinking between 8 and 12 beers a week would put you in that risk category.

People who drank more—at least 17 beers a week—showed even more deterioration in that brain region. They were nearly six times as likely to show atrophy in their hippocampus than those who didn’t drink at all.

Interestingly, there was no link between light drinkers and brain deterioration, showing that there doesn’t seem to be any brain benefit to drinking just a little bit.

Plus, the more alcohol people drank, the poorer their density of white matter—a part of the brain necessary for cognitive function—and the greater their decline in specific language skills.

Alcohol and its byproducts are toxic to nerve cells in your brain, and can cause structural damage in important areas of your brain like the hippocampus that are used in daily mental functions, the researchers say.

This suggests that even drinking within the recommended alcohol guidelines—no more than two drinks a day for men—may still contribute to some brain problems.

Follow Us: Men's Health

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos





Top Articles

1 Relationships and Sex Your toothpaste might be ruining your spermbullet
2 Floyd Mayweather Boxer is abstaining from sex before his mega-bout...bullet
3 Fitness and Weight Loss Rev your metabolism with this full-body car...bullet
4 Sex & Relationships Here's what most women really think of your...bullet
5 Fitness and Weight Loss Weighing yourself every day can help you...bullet
6 Guy Smarts Here's why you should think twice before sending an...bullet
7 Fitness and Weight Loss Scorch body fat with this rows and...bullet
8 Relationships and Sex ​Talking like this will make you...bullet
9 Relationships and Sex Women don’t want to have sex with...bullet
10 Culinary Tips Make meatless Lasagna taste amazing with...bullet

Top Videos

1 Maria Bello & Viggo Mortensen sex scene in "A History of Violence (2005)"bullet
2 The Heartbreak Of Not Having A Vagina | BORN DIFFERENTbullet
3 How a barber used an axe & hammer to cut hairbullet
4 I Let My Best Friend Have Sex With My Boyfriend.bullet
5 8 Minute Abs - Orignal Classic AB Workoutbullet
6 Body Heat (1981) - Love scenebullet

Men's Health