Moderate Drinking Boosts Immune System
First, note well the word “moderate,” because immoderate drinking does to your immune system what water in the gas tank does to your car. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (I know, you never heard of it) are convinced that moderate drinking boosts the immune system, at least in monkeys. A university news release reports that researchers trained a group of 12 rhesus macaques, who were vaccinated against small pox, to consume alcohol — a 4 percent ethanol mixture whenever they felt like it. They then separated the animals into two groups — those with access to the 4 percent ethanol and those with access to sugar water. All of the animals had regular access to pure water, and to food. The researchers monitored the animals’ alcohol intake for 14 months, and segregated them into two groups- heavy drinkers, those that had an average blood ethanol concentration greater than 0.08 percent — the legal limit for humans to be able to drive a vehicle; and moderate drinkers, with an average blood ethanol concentration of 0.02 to 0.04 percent. And now the news: Prior to consuming the alcohol, all of the animals showed comparable responses to the vaccination. But after exposure to the alcohol, the two groups of monkeys responded in very different ways to the vaccination. The heavy drinkers showed greatly diminished vaccine responses compared with the control group of monkeys who drank the sugar water. But the moderate-drinking monkeys showed enhanced responses to the vaccine compared to the control group. Moderate drinking bolstered their bodies’ immune systems. Read more from Oregon Health & Science University.