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Champagne is Good for the Brain!

November 11, 2015 – A study at Reading University in the U.K. has found that Champagne can help with dementia and Alzheimer’s.  The research suggests three glasses a week can improve spatial memory.  Spatial memory refers to recognizing your surroundings, which will help you find your way home, for example.

The magic compound in Champagne is phenolic acid.  The grapes used to make Champagne are predominantly Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay* and as biochemistry professor, Jeremy Spencer who led the research pointed out, the benefits of red wine have been researched but what benefits, if any, were imparted when these red grapes were used in Champagne.

The experiments were conducted on rats.  The Champagne was mixed in with their food.  The rats had to run through a maze to find a treat.  Five minutes later they had to do it again, the test being to see if they remembered where they found the treat the first time   After a six week experiment it was found that rats that were not fed Champagne has a 50 per cent success rate while those that consumed Champagne had a 70 percent success rate.

Prof. Spencer told the U.K. Daily Mail: “The results were dramatic. After rats consumed champagne regularly, there was a 200 per cent increase of proteins important for determining effective memory. This occurred in rats after just six weeks. We think it would take about three years in humans.

“This research is exciting because it illustrates for the first time that moderate consumption of Champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning such as memory.”

Professor Spencer’s next research will be on humans, over 65, who will consume Champagne for the next three years.  Volunteers, anyone?

* About 85 to 90 percent of Champagnes are a blend of about 2/3 red grapes and 1/3 Chardonnay. A few Champagnes (less than 5 percent) are 100 percent Chardonnay (they are called blanc de blancs); fewer yet are 100 percent red grapes (called blanc de noirs). Rosé Champagnes, a small category, are usually, but not always, made from a blend of white and red grapes.  French Wines for Dummies by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing Mulligan.