The Surprising Connection Between Champagne and Your Memory
As a longtime “bubble-holic”, I’m always looking for any excuse to drink champagne: a friend’s birthday, a stellar work meeting or, simply, Thursday. Turns out, I may have a whole new reason to pop a cork that has less to do with celebrating and everything to do with health.
Champagne and Your Memory
While too many glasses might have you feeling fuzzy about what happened last night, one to three glasses of sparkling wine a week may improve memory loss associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Britain’s University of Reading found that compounds in champagne may help your spatial memory. That means when you drink bubbly and go somewhere (not as a driver, of course), you’ll likely be able to find your way back again. Champagne may also spur proteins levels in your brain responsible for adaptability and learning.
The boost is credited to champagne’s phenolic compounds, which come from two of the grapes traditionally used to make it: pinot noir and pinot meunier. The same memory upgrade may occur with red wine, but is not associated with white wine.
The Fine Print
Not to burst your bubble, but it’s important to note that the study was conducted on rats, not humans. The lucky older rats that were given bubbly over the course of six weeks were better able to find their way to a treat in a maze the second time around than rats that did not consume alcohol.
The testing would need to be repeated on humans before a more concrete conclusion can be drawn (When it is, I’ll be the first to volunteer as a subject!), David Vauzour, a researcher on the study, remains optimistic about translating the findings into humans.
While improved memory was seen in the rats after six weeks, researchers hypothesize it will take up to three years of drinking champagne in humans to see the same results.
In the meantime, it’s always a smart idea to follow the advice of the study’s co-author, Jeremy Spencer: he recommends a responsible approach to alcohol consumption as the study suggests that only one to two glasses a week can be beneficial.
I’ll toast to that!
Want to learn some other strategies to boost your brainpower? Schedule an appointment with a primary care physician who will be able to help suggest new ways to keep your memory on point.
For more than 30 years, Keck Medicine of USC physicians and researchers have made major contributions to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, vascular brain injury and memory problems.
If you’re in the Southern California area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top Alzheimer’s specialists in the world, schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://neuro.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/
By Anne Fritz