Could Champagne Improve Your Memory?
Scientists find new evidence that a moderate, daily dose of bubbly may prevent dementia.
Too much champagne can make you forget who you kissed on New Year's Eve, but in small doses, it may actually improve your memory. Researchers at Reading University have presented new evidence suggesting that regular, moderate consumption of the bubbly beverage can help fight brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The ingredient responsible for these benefits is phenolic acid—a compound found in champagne at a higher level than red or white wine—that increases the number of proteins in the brain important to effective memory storage, which is normally depleted with age. “Dementia probably starts in the 40s and goes on to the 80s," says Jeremy Spencer, a biochemistry professor at Reading. "It is a gradual decline and so the earlier people take these beneficial compounds in champagne, the better.” After putting small quantities of champagne in rats' food daily for a six week period, the research team observed a dramatic improvement in the creatures' spatial memory during a maze experiment. "After rats consumed champagne regularly, there was a 200% increase of proteins important for determining effective memory," says Spencer, who confirmed that they want to test humans next. "This occurred in rats after just six weeks. We think it would take about three years in humans."