Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thanks for the Memories, Tiny Bubbles

A British study released earlier this summer indicates that not only can champagne be good for offering up a toast, but also for remembering the event; for your memory.

Research now shows that one to three glass of champagne consumed each week can help delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and brain dementia.

In Britain, one in three people over the age of 65 develop dementia. In the US, over 5-million people are affected with it. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US; the 5th leading cause for those 65 and older.

Reading University
The champagne study, conducted by scientists at Reading University in Berkshire, shows that the phenolic compounds found in the champagne can improve spatial memory, the memory that is vital for intricate tasks and math.

Phenolic Compounds
The phenolic compounds work by altering signals in the brain that control memory and learning. Memory storage is reduced as we age, leading to poorer memory retention, and many times, dementia. But champagne slows the loss of these proteins down, possibly preventing cognitive deterioration.

Pinot Noir Grapes
This is the first time that scientists have found a health benefit in champagne, and they link it to the red grapes used for making the drink, mainly  Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. About 80% of champagnes are crafted from these two grapes and blended with Chardonnay.

Although these experiments were performed on rats, the scientists are certain that the results would be similar for the human brain. They reported that the results were dramatic; there was a 200% increase of the proteins necessary for determining effective memory after just six weeks of the rats consuming champagne-laced mash every day.

Jeremy Spencer
According to biochemistry professor Jeremy Spencer of the Department of Food and Nutrition’s Sciences at the University of Reading, “These exciting results illustrate for the first time that the moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory.  Such observations have previously been reported with red wine, through the actions of flavonoids contained within it."
Flavnoids On Board

Flavonoids, the compound chemicals found in red wine, have been attributed to helping lower blood pressure and protecting the heart in humans.

Researchers of the study suggest those over the age of 40 should consider having two or three glasses of bubbly each week to help stave off gradual memory decline in older age, noting that it may take a year or two to see the benefits.

Other research from the University of Reading shows that two glass of champagne a day may be good for the heart and circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Of course, more research is needed. The next step is to conduct experiments on humans. These trials will require about 50 people over the age of 65 to drink champagne for three years. (Not a bad gig... ; )

As we await those results, let's raise a glass of champagne in honor of those special memories and every day memories we’d like to hang on to as we age.

~ Joy