Alcohol consumption: even the smallest amounts damage the brain

Wine, beer and spirits are not only noticeable in the form of a hangover the next morning: Even the smallest amounts of alcohol can damage the body in the long term and have a lasting effect on the brain.

The brain consists of more than 100 billion nerve cells, which, among other things, process and store what people perceive with all their senses. Any intoxication causes significant damage to the brain. With regular and heavy alcohol consumption, the brain can shrink by up to 15 percent – but even daily, small amounts damage not only the brain, but the whole body.

Small amounts of alcohol are very harmful to the body

The regular after-work beer or a glass of wine can damage the brain in the long term. Here is how alcohol consumption can affect the brain:

  • Atrophy of tissue in the hippocampus of the brain,  which acts as the “hard drive of the brain” as a switching point between long-term and short-term memory.
  • Impairment of the structure of the white matter,  which is responsible for the nerve tracts in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Decrease in lexical language competence  in the form of word finding.

In addition to damage to the brain, regular alcohol consumption in small amounts can also negatively affect other parts of the body and increase the risk of diseases:

Due to the health consequences and risks that can be triggered even by moderate, i.e. moderate, alcohol consumption, the recommendation of the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) is also ambitious:

  • Men: no more than 24 grams of pure alcohol per day, which corresponds to about two glasses of beer or a pint of wine
  • Women: no more than 12 grams of alcohol a day, i.e. a glass of beer or an eighth of a liter of wine

Since even small amounts of alcohol can have a negative impact on health, alcohol consumption should be limited as much as possible.

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