(NEXSTAR) – Do you drink in moderation? A study from Oxford University has some bad news.
The new observational studywhich has yet to be peer-reviewed, has determined that the only safe level of alcohol is zero when it comes to brain health.
The researchers used brain scans of 25,000 UK residents to examine the effect of alcohol on their gray matter.
“The more people drank, the lower their gray matter volume,” lead author Anya Topiwala told CNN in an email.
Topiwala said that gray matter is responsible for processing information and regardless of consumption, alcohol has a negative effect.
“Brain volume declines with age and more severely with dementia,” Topiwala said. “Smaller brain volume also predicts poorer performance on memory tests.”
Oxford researchers found that no alcoholic drink was safer than others and that factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption put people at higher risk .
“No safe dose of alcohol for the brain has been found,” the study concluded. “Moderate drinking is associated with more widespread adverse brain effects than previously thought.”
“Although we cannot yet say for sure if there is no level of alcohol that is safe for brain health today, it has been known for decades that excessive alcohol consumption is bad for brain health,” said Sadie Boniface of the British Institute. of Alcohol Studies, told CNN in an email. “We should also not forget that alcohol affects all parts of the body and there are multiple health risks.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for 261 deaths per day in the United States, or more than 95,000 per year.