Anti-Ageing Reversing the Effects of Alcohol on the Body


Exploring New and Old Health News Today – Anti-Ageing Reversing the Effects of Alcohol on the Body


The UK doesn’t just drink alcohol at Christmas time but it drinks year round. The World Health Organisation (2019) states Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease”. However, alcohol also ages us far quicker than if we abstained from drinking.

The Science 

When we look at Anti-ageing we also need to consider what alcohol does to the body and brain. A study by Anne L Schou (2017) shown that 33% percent of people who drank in excess more likely to have age-related grey rings around the corneas of their eyes. a condition called arcus senilis, which normally occurs around the age of 60. It’s clear alcohol especially binge drinking increases the ageing process.

Binge drinking has been shown to have genetic and structural changes to the brain, particularly in teens and young adults. A recent study has shown that this damage may be able to be reversed. The damage in teens and young adults is majority caused in the hippocampus where the learning and memory takes place. This is also the area where overuse of alcohol will take place. Therefore, research conducted by Dr Swartzwelder at Duke Health,  investigated the effects of alcoholic consumption 4 x per week in rats. The findings showed that the rats that were drinking in excess had fewer dendritic spines coming from the neurons (important for carrying signals and neurotransmitters around the brain).

When the rats were given the drug Donepezil (a medication to treat Alzheimer’s patients) the damage reversed, specifically the spines were denser and longer. This research may help Alzheimers and Parkinson disease.


Consumption of alcohol results in a large amount of deaths worldwide, increases disease burden on nations and ages people. One way you can prevent the negative effects of alcohol on the body is by eliminating or reducing the amount you drink and don’t binge drink. To promote anti-ageing for regular consumers of alcohol the Alzheimer’s drug Donepezil shows promise in this area, but more research needs to be done.

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Updated on the 16/12/2019 by the GC Biosciences Editorial Team


Anne L Schou, 2017. ‘Alcohol consumption, smoking and development of visible age-related signs: a prospective cohort study’ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. vol. 71. no. 12

H. S. Swartzwelder, 2018. ‘Changes in Neuroimmune and Neuronal Death Markers after Adolescent Alcohol Exposure in Rats are Reversed by Donepezil’ Nature Research. Article no. 12110

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