According to new research due to be published in next month's journal Neuroscience, binge drinking can decrease brain cell production in adults by up to 40 per cent.
Researchers examined the effects of heavy drinking in rats that achieved a blood alcohol limit of 0.08 per cent - the legal limit in the US and across many other nations.
This is the equivalent of between three and four drinks for women and five drinks for men, with the scientists noting a negative effect on brain cell production.
Nerve cells in the hippocampus - which is necessary for certain types of new learning - were reduced by almost 40 per cent compared to rodents that abstained from alcohol.
The study authors pointed out that this drinking pattern had little short-term effects on either males or females, but could impact on how new cells communicate with other neurons to regulate brain health.
Graduate fellow in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Megan Anders, said: "If this area of your brain was affected every day over many months and years, eventually you might not be able to learn how to get somewhere new or to learn something new about your life."
UK alcohol consumption guidelines suggest men should drink no more than a pint and a half of four per cent beer per day - the equivalent of between three and four units of alcohol.
Similarly, women should not exceed three daily units of alcohol, which roughly equates to a 175ml glass of wine.
President of the Standing Committee of European Doctors, Dr Michael Wilks, said: "Saving up your weekly units so you can drink them all on a Friday night is not the way to interpret the government's advice."