Alcohol found to improve sense of smell

23rd July, 2014 by Lauren Eads

A modest amount of alcohol can improve your sense of smell, a recent study has concluded.

smellA study carried out by scientists in Israel found that a small amount of alcohol, in lowering a person’s inhibitions, can increase their ability to detect smell, as reported by the New Scientist.

The study saw 20 volunteers take part in an odour detection test during which they were asked to smell three different liquids.

Two were a mixture of the same six odours, while the third had one of the odours replaced.

Each volunteer was given two seconds to smell the liquid and detect which was the odd one out.

Having been given either 35ml of vodka or fruit juice, the experiment was repeated.

Those with a higher blood-alcohol level scored higher in terms of their ability to detect and discriminate between different odours.

However while low levels of alcohol improved performance, too much, about two units within an hour for women and three for men, resulted in a significant reduction in sense of smell.

Speaking to the New Scientist, Yaara Endevelt, of the the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and lead author, said: “If we knew more about the mechanisms that caused this inhibition, then it might shed light on why some people lose their sense of smell and may be helpful for some kinds of olfactory loss.”

The results of the study were published in the Behavioural Brain Research journal.

Alcohol, in particular red wine, has been linked to many health benefits owing mostly to the presence of resveratrol found in the skins of red grapes – a compound credited with reversing the effects of ageing to protecting against heart disease.

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