Drinking Three Glasses Of Champagne Per Week Found To Improve Cognitive Performance

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Drinking Three Glasses Of Champagne Per Week Found To Improve Cognitive Performance
image © Diana Vyshniakova – fotolia.com

Scientists have found that drinking the equivalent of three glasses of champagne per week improved spatial working memory and increases levels of brain proteins in “rats in the maze” studies over a six week period.

Phenolic acids found in Pinot noir, Pinot meunier and Chardonnay grapes – the ones used to make bubbly – were reported to improve spatial working memory and increase levels of brain proteins in rats. The study found that those given champagne to drink over six weeks displayed better cognitive performance when finding treats in a maze test. [1]

There’s a joke here about the rodent equivalent of finding the kebab shop while stumbling home from the pub but I’ll leave it there.

What’s interesting is that this is the latest in a string of studies that has found health benefits abundant in flavonoids and phenolic compounds in grapes. Resveratrol, a substance found in red grape juice and red wine, is a powerful antioxidant that has actually been associated with reduced cell death in the brain and heart – and is even regarded as an anti-aging food.

The major phenolic compounds present in champagne were listed as gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, tyrosol, caftaric acid and caffeic acid.

Note of course that this research is not a reason for irresponsible alcohol consumption. And of course, one can always get the benefits of the phytonutrients by eating the grapes or drinking unfermented, fresh grape juice without the alcohol.

This study has also been misrepresented (as per usual) in social media, with the major papers picking up on it and adding “sizzle” – proudly stating that “Three glasses of champagne per week may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease”. This is hypothesied by the researchers, but should not be considered as proven – yet. It’s important to realize also that the study has not yet been done on humans. While there is often a statistical correlation between animal and human studies, the animal studies should really be seen as promising rather than proven. There should also be several successful runs of the same study in order to consider it conclusive.

Another study I would like to see is a comparison in the levels of these beneficial phytonutrients in expensive vs. cheap champagne brands, how organic wines fare on the levels of these substances, how genuine Champagne from the Champagne region of France fares against imitation products (it is actually illegal to officially label any product Champagne unless it both comes from the Champagne region)… [2] and also how pure grape juice fares against these.


[1] Phenolic Acid Intake, Delivered Via Moderate Champagne Wine Consumption, Improves Spatial Working Memory Via the Modulation of Hippocampal and Cortical Protein Expression/Activation (Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, Oct 2013). https://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ars.2012.5142

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champagne

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