We have all had that health class where the motto for about a month was “alcohol is bad!” It does all these horrible things to your body including killing brain cells. There really isn’t any disputing the fact that alcohol is bad for you and it does horrible things to your body, but one of those horrible things might just be a myth.
So wait, where did this idea that alcohol kills brain cells come from? Like many inadvisable substances at very high doses, alcohol can kill brain cells. How high of a dosage of alcohol is needed to kill brain cells? Well, this amount of alcohol would kill you before it gets to your brain cells. So even the heaviest of drinkers really aren’t killing brain cells in their lifetime.
Debunking this myth all started with a study in 1993 by Grethe Jensen. Jensen did an observational study in which he counted the neurons in a group of deceased alcoholics and deceased non-alcoholics. Jensen found that the difference in neurons was non-existent between the two groups.
So could this study have been a false positive? It is possible, but many studies similar to this have been conducted since with similar results backing up the findings. A meta-analysis was conducted in 2009 which helped debunk the myth with its findings amongst many studies suggesting alcohol does not kill brain cells.
Why would there have been a belief that alcohol kills brain cells in the first place? Remember that alcohol is a disinfectant and has the ability to kill bacteria and cells. However, this fact alone is not enough to leave the impression it kills brain cells. The fact that alcohol affects on the brain can be debilitating probably could lead to the conclusion it has permanent affects on brain cells. Yet, studies suggest otherwise.
The fact of the matter is, alcohol consumption at a humanly possible level does not kill brain cells. Still, keep in mind, alcohol has other damaging affects on the body which have not been disproved… yet.