The results of a 2013 study on champagne and memory resurfaced this week, prompting bottle-popping celebrations across the Internet. Drinking champagne, it was claimed, is good for your brain and can reduce dementia risk, giving us all a scientific reason to break out the bubbly.
Unfortunately, it’s just not true. The 2013 study was focused on champagne and memory, but the results were nowhere near clear-cut.
Much of the hype stems from a press release sent out by the University of Reading at the time of the paper’s publication in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. The release states that “drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week may counteract the memory loss associated with ageing, and could help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia.”
Nope, nope, and nope. First of all, there’s a big gaping omission in this story: the species of the research subjects. The scientists tested the effects of champagne on rats, not people. We have no idea if these effects might translate to human brains.
Secondly, there was no proof that champagne helped more than any other alcoholic beverage. The 24 rats in the study were divided into three groups. Eight got champagne, eight got another alcoholic drink, the final eight were given a non-alcoholic fizzy drink. All three groups were then led through a series of tasks to test their spatial memory. It’s true that the champagne-swilling rodents did better than those who stayed sober, but they didn’t fare any better than the non-champagne-booze group. In other words, there’s no proof that champagne has super memory-boosting powers.
Finally, the ability of champagne to stave off dementia was never even tested.
So what did the study prove? Not much. It showed that the spatial memory of older rats can improve with moderate alcohol consumption—but even these results have yet to be replicated.
Like any other science, the research surrounding the effects of alcoholic beverages is constantly evolving and full of contradictions. Some studies say drinking in moderation is beneficial; others say it’s dangerous.
The bottom line: There’s no evidence whatsoever that upping your Cristal consumption will save your brain. But let’s be serious. Since when did you need an excuse to drink champagne?