Cocktails & Vitamin E Improve Memory

First, the bad news: Going on a bender is no excuse for forgetting what you did. The good news: Both drinking alcohol and taking vitamin E are good for your memory. That's the conclusion of a U.S. government study analyzed by researchers at the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care in Indianapolis.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study included blood-nutrient analyses of a cross section of 4,809 Americans older than 60. People were divided into four groups according to serum vitamin E levels and given a simple memory test.

People with the lowest vitamin E levels had almost three times the rate of poor memory than those with the highest levels (11 percent vs. 4 percent). Lifetime teetotalers also had a higher rate of poor memory (15 percent compared with 5 percent for those who drank alcohol). Even after the researchers controlled for all possible confounding factors including other nutrients, both low blood levels of vitamin E and alcohol abstention correlated with a doubled risk of poor memory.

The authors do not speculate how alcohol and vitamin E may affect memory; however, both are believed to protect against atherosclerosis, which can clog cerebral arteries.