Those of us that drink heavily are more likely to be able to use alcohol by-products to fuel our brain function, a new study shows. This is great news, as it proves a longstanding theory we’ve all had: getting drunk before an exam is an excellent way to add a bit of extra fuel to the neural fires and kick the brain into overdrive.
Long-term booze use boosts brain levels of acetate, an energy-rich by-product of alcohol metabolism, researchers report online March 8 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. In the study, people who downed at least eight drinks per week also sucked more energy from acetate than their light-drinking counterparts.
The extra energy may give heavy drinkers more incentive to imbibe, says study coauthor Graeme Mason of Yale University. And the caloric perk might help explain why alcohol withdrawal is so hard.
It seems we have the superior brain metabolic function here, gentlemen. People that drink around two drinks per week aren’t able to efficiently use acetate as an energy source. We are. The result is basically the same as a car switching to ethanol or battery power once the gasoline runs out. The secondary source isn’t as good, but it works well in a pinch.
Now, though this boosts brain function, don’t try and black out so you can come up with a plausible unified field theory or invent cold fusion. Pretty sure it doesn’t work that way, because, if it did, you would all be lining up for my real-life version of Jurassic Park and I’d be a cyborg. With that said, you might be able to squeeze an extra bit of energy out of a good night of drinking that someone else can’t. Not a bad skill to have. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can list “extra energy from our budding alcoholism” as a skill on a résumé.
[via Science News]