According to a new study, people who drink more can also use a backup source of energy for their brain: acetate
Here’s another reason to build up your tolerance (other than to avoid embarrassment during your next night out); researchers at Yale University have discovered that people who have at least eight drinks a week can somehow get more energy from acetate for their brains. Which basically means their brains get more fuel.
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According to study co-author Graeme Mason, the liver naturally breaks down alcohol and ends up with acetate as leftovers, a chemical that gets delivered throughout the body and to the brain. Mason figured that the more the body adjusts to acetate levels, the better it can squeeze energy out of the extra chemicals.
Sure enough, “Heavy drinkers transported more acetate to their brains and burned the chemical about twice as fast as light drinkers, Mason’s group found,” Science Daily reports. “Like a car that can switch to ethanol when it runs out of gasoline, heavy drinkers’ brains could tap energy from an alternate fuel source.”
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Human brains typically use sugar for energy, the researchers note, but it turns out that a byproduct of alcohol consumption could also give the brain some more energy. Unfortunately, researchers also point out that heavy drinkers could drink more thanks to the extra energy, but Mason and company hope that perhaps taking acetate could help alcoholics with withdrawal symptoms.
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