UK study reveals drinking more than one drink a day can impact brain health

A new study has revealed that drinking just over one standard drink a day can impact your brain health.

University of Oxford researchers studied the drinking habits of more than 20,000 British people and then used MRI scans to assess their brains.

The study found that just over seven drinks a week raises the iron levels in your brain.

Brain researcher Malvindar Singh-Bains said this caused their cognitive function to lower.

"In participants that had more than seven units of alcohol they had changes in their ability to think clearly." 

While it's no big surprise that alcohol alters the chemistry in our brains, she said this study shone a brand new light on what it does to iron levels.

"We should be concerned not afraid, I think we should be armed with knowledge and this knowledge should just have an impact on our decisions we make on a daily basis."

Matt McLaughlin of Hoff Hospitality said the study is interesting, but won't alter people's drinking habits.

"I think we'll carry on drinking like… I don't want to say drinking like we always have, because the industry is changing and people are drinking more responsibly."

And McLaughlin has the data to prove to it.

He runs several bars in Wellington and says in the past year there's been a 322 percent increase in people buying 0 percent beer across New Zealand.

"In the last year alone there was over 2.1 million litres of non-alcoholic beer brewed in New Zealand and I think that's fantastic." 

McLaughlin said it has been good business for bars even during 'Dry July', where people don't drink alcohol for the month to raise money for cancer.

"More people are coming in and asking for non-alcoholic options, rather than not coming out and socialising, they are still coming out, hitting the town and enjoying themselves," he said.

And with this new study highlighting the impact of booze on our brains, some Kiwis may be inclined to continue Dry July a little longer.