Moderate alcohol use - beneficial? Brief News to Use post.
Factoid from my vitamin A research review - too much alcohol is bad - but moderate use may help cognitive health because of th effects on retinoid metabolism.
Retinoid metabolism is an alphabet soup of various receptor types that may be involved. RAR stands for the main Retinoic Acid Receptors.
We make less of these various receptors as we age, but having an intake of Retinoic Acid can help prevent the loss - promote more gene expression of the receptor proteins. Loss of the retinoid receptor team is associated with cognitive deficits such as reduced learning and memory. (1)
“Age-related changes in vitamin A signaling, especially reduced plasma retinol concentrations and decreases in RAR and RXR messenger RNA, have been reported in human and animal models.26,27 Higueret and Jaffard's group in France conducted a series of experiments27-32 to investigate the potential role of the retinoid pathway in aging and the associated cognitive deficits. They mainly focused on the expression patterns of RARs and RXRs and their target genes, such as neurogranin, in rats and mice. They showed that the expression of all these genes decreases with aging, a phenomenon that could be reversed by RA treatment.27 These age-related decreases in expression are associated with altered cognitive functions (eg, learning and memory).28,29” (1)
Chronic alcoholism causes a chronic overexpression of some of the genes affected by the receptors (animal-based study, 30 (1). Moderate alcohol use increased RARs and their target genes in aged mice, which may have beneficial effects on cognition. 31,32 (1)
“Conversely, chronic alcohol administration in mice induces overexpression of the same genes, an effect that can be reversed by treatment with an RAR antagonist.30 Also, moderate alcohol administration restores expression of RARs and their RA target genes in aged mice, a situation that may have beneficial effects on cognitive alteration during senescence.31,32” (1)
How much alcohol is moderate? Not much, 1-2 two servings per day depending on size and sex and ethnicity. A petite female needs less to be inebriated. Some ethnic groups don’t process alcohol well to break it down and become inebriated on very little. Beneficial health effects may be seen with as little as a third of a typical serving per day - the snifter of medicinal brandy for shock. See: G11. Alcohol (effectivecare.info)
Sangria sounds good.
Add some liver (*organically raised for reduced glyphosate risk) and onions to your meal routine occasionally too, and your brain may thank you for it as you age. Liver and other animal products provide some of the active Retinoic Acid. Carrots add the doubled form of vitamin A, beta-carotene, made with two molecules of vitamin A (roughly).
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
Tafti M, Ghyselinck NB. Functional Implication of the Vitamin A Signaling Pathway in the Brain. Arch Neurol. 2007;64(12):1706–1711. doi:10.1001/archneur.64.12.1706 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/794818
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