Alcohol Actually Does Something Good For Your Brain (Sort Of)

March 11, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Here’s the latest booze news from the science world: Alcohol actually fuels the brains of heavy drinkers, a new study shows, literally boosting the brain’s energy levels, something that we once thought only sugar could do. Habitual boozing increases brain levels of acetate, a high-energy chemical released by the liver during alcohol metabolism. Interestingly, the more heavily you drink, the more easily acetate converts into energy.

But don’t go replacing your eggs and coffee with whiskey and whiskey just yet. The fact that acetate only fuels the brains of heavy drinkers might be more of an… alcoholism thing. After all, an inherent part of any addiction is that your brain rewards you with dopamine and other chemicals when you get your fix, but obviously that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

“The extra energy may give heavy drinkers more incentive to imbibe,” said study coauthor Graeme Mason of Yale. “And the caloric perk might help explain why alcohol withdrawal is so hard.”

It also kind of explains why those shot-guzzling party animal friends can get black out drunk yet somehow keep going all night, while you just get sick or pass out after a few beers. Jerks.