I read somewhere that people who drink beer get more stupid.

Is that true? Does beer kill brain cells or what?

  • Yes it does, but making your own makes you more intelligent so it all balances out!
    – DoctorMick
    Oct 6, 2014 at 7:27
  • 4
    Not about brewing. Its just a 'chatty' topic
    – brewchez
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:34

3 Answers 3


No, alcohol doesn't kill brain cells, but does effect your brain while drinking.

It's true that at high concentrations, like the nearly 100-percent pure alcohol used in sterilizing solutions, alcohol can indeed kill cells and neurons (and nearly anything else). But given that the blood reaching your brain is only at 0.08 percent alcohol if you're legally intoxicated, or, say, 0.25 percent if you've just closed a major deal in Tokyo, it's not doing a lot of damage to your actual brain cells (liver cells and other organs, with long-term chronic abuse, are another matter).

Don't believe it? A major study by Grethe Jensen and colleagues in 1993 matched brain samples taken from both alcoholics and nonalcoholics, from groups of the two dead from non-alcohol-related causes. There were no significant differences found in either the number or density of brain cells between the groups. Misconception Junction tackles Jensen's study and the topic in more depth.

What alcohol can and does do to your brain is affect the way your neurons get their firing triggers from glutamate. It infiltrates the glutamate receptors in your synapses, hurting their ability to send off their normal "fire" messages. Alcohol has this impact all across your brain—the parts that control muscles, speech, coordination, judgment, and so on. Keep that in mind the next time you or someone else claims that they drive, golf, or otherwise perform some task better with alcohol's help.

What Alcohol Actually Does to Your Brain and Body


Studies have shown that beer is good for the brain and heart if you drink in moderation. Like most things in life if you do too much then it becomes problematic.

Tap Into Beer's Health Benefits


Let's get this out of the way now -- too much alcohol does a whole host of horrible shit to just about every organ in your body. It's just that your brain isn't really one of them. Your alcoholic uncle doesn't actually get any stupider when he drinks. Meaner, but not stupider.

"Asleep" isn't the same as "brain damaged."

"Asleep" isn't the same as "brain damaged."

The whole idea of alcohol destroying your brain actually dates back to the temperance movement in America, circa 1830. Using the now familiar tactic of "It's OK to lie as long as it's for a good cause," the writers of the time claimed that alcohol would do everything from destroying your brain to making you catch fire if you drank too much. Though the latter, if true, would make losing a few brain cells seem fairly minor.

Plenty of people believed it -- it just seems like common sense that beer destroys the brain. Have you ever seen a drunk person before? And listened to his jokes?

So this guy, he turned and said ... and said ... shit. It was something about priests, or bears. Hey -- QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!

"So this guy, he turned and said ... and said ... shit. It was something about priests, or bears. Hey -- QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!"

Yet, according to scientific studies, the dopiness associated with being drunk has nothing to do with dying brain cells and everything to do with the alcohol blocking them from doing their work, inhibiting cognition and motor function. Your brain cells are fine, as long you don't walk into too many walls while you're trashed. Another point of confusion stems from the fact that there is a brain disorder that's linked to alcoholism called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which makes you dumb and destroys your memory. But this isn't actually caused by the alcohol; it's malnutrition stemming from the fact that alcoholics often have really crappy diets because the booze kills their appetite and eats up their disposable income.

Read more: The 6 Most Frequently Quoted Brain Facts (That Are Total BS)

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