I'm A Dementia Expert ― Here's The Exact Age You Should Stop Drinking Alcohol

Dr. Restak, author and neurologist, shares the precise age at which he'd stop drinking.
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In Dr. Restak’s new book, How To Prevent Dementia, the neurologist and author revealed that drinking booze ― especially large quantities of it, regularly ― can damage your brain health. It’s a “direct neurotoxin,” he shared.

Indeed, seeing as alcohol can be so damaging to our memory, he suggests people of all ages reconsider their relationship with booze.

“Ask yourself, ‘why do I drink?’ If the answer is ‘because alcohol helps me to elevate my mood and lower my anxiety,’ you may be at some peril, and it’s probably best to stop altogether,” he said in his book.

While you “probably have less to fear” if you’re drinking wine for social enjoyment or tasting reasons, though, the neurologist still recommends a stop point of drinkers.

“I strongly suggest that if you are 65 years old or older, that you completely and permanently eliminate alcohol from your diet,” Dr. Restak says.

Why 65?

Part of it has to do with your risk of falling.

Though less of a risk factor for Alzheimer’s than heavy smoking, Dr. Restak says alcohol can still damage your memory ― but its effects may be worse on your hips.

“Alcohol should also be seen in the context of frequent falls among the elderly,” the doctor said.

“The death rates from falls is increasing, especially among elderly men,” he points out, adding that fatalities have jumped 30% between 2007-2016. Falls are responsible for 70% of accidental deaths in those 70 or older, he said.

So, limiting your consumption after 65 is advisable ― especially if “you are already afflicted with other contributors to falls, such as a decline in strength, muscle atrophy, balance issues, and the taking of medications. In that case, drinking alcohol may be especially dangerous.”

Anything else?

Yep ― there’s a special type of dementia that only comes about from the overconsumption of alcohol.

The condition, known as Korsakoff’s syndrome, is “marked by a severe loss of recent memory” and “results from the direct effect of alcohol on the brain,” Dr. Restak says.

That’s because your thiamine levels become reduced, meaning that “within an hour, a normally functioning heavy drinker may become confused, lose balance, satgger, and fall. Most affected is the memory for recent events,” the doctor said.

Those with the condition may also fill in blanks in their memory with “confabulation,” Dr. Restak points out ― meaning that if they’ve forgotten what they were doing on Tuesday, and you tell them you saw them at a fun fair that day, they’ll go along with and even embellish the story (without lying ― they truly believe it).

Alcohol overconsumption can also affect your brain-healthy B12 levels, Dr. Restak says.

Fine, fine, I’ll keep dry January going...