Moderate Alcohol Consumption And The Immune System


Yet, many are surprised that drinking alcohol can also make you more susceptible to viruses such as COVID-19. If you drink alcohol to excess, your immune system will not function as well as it should. While the exact mechanisms are unknown, it’s known that excessive alcohol consumption suppresses your body’s immune response. Alcohol doesn’t just affect the function of the digestive tract. Excessive drinking may impair the function of immune cells in the lungs and upper respiratory system, leading to increased risk for pneumonia, tuberculosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Because the immunity of the mucus is impaired in both the lungs and digestive tract, any disease can become more severe.

That is, by drinking too much, you decrease your body’s defensive mechanisms to fight off a cold, virus, or other bacterial or viral infections. Overusing alcohol can also cause damage to the kidney’s function. Kidneys filter out the substances from your blood, which happen to include alcohol. Extended overuse can cause the kidneys to become less able to filter out these substances. Too much alcohol can also increase your blood pressure, and alcohol usually doesn’t mix too well with kidney medication. In the U.S. most of the people affected by kidney and liver disease are also alcohol dependent. There are quite a few discrepancies concerning how alcohol affects the heart, how much is too much, and whether or not it directly leads to heart disease.

Does Alcohol Weaken Our Immune System

As a result, your body may neglect its immune response in favor of metabolizing large amounts of alcohol. It is important to uncover how drinking affects your body’s ability to fight diseases. Alcohol Abuse Slides Read about the health risks of chronic heavy or binge drinking. Anemia, cancer, gout, cardiovascular disease and many more diseases can be caused by heavy or binge drinking. Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.

Ensure that after your recovery finishes, you stay away from drugs and alcohol altogether. Suppose you have finished detoxing or been in rehab.

Research has indicated that normally 75% of Americans feel they are under moderate to high stress most of the time, and that’s just day to day life prior to COVID. Stress is one of the things that plays a major role in your immune system. It can impact your blood pressure, cholesterol level, brain chemistry, blood sugar levels, and hormonal balance. It is also increasingly viewed as a cardiovascular risk factor.


While malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and advanced liver cirrhosis can contribute to some of the immune abnormalities in chronic alcoholics, alcohol itself is a potent modulator of the immune system. Increasing evidence from human and animal studies in vivo as well as from experiments in vitro suggests that alcohol use can indeed modulate the immune system at various levels. In addition to the immunomodulatory effects of chronic alcohol use, recent evidence also points out the immunoregulatory potential of acute, moderate alcohol consumption. Both acute and chronic alcohol use can affect the immune system at the level of innate or acquired immune responses. Altered inflammatory neutrophil, leukocyte, and macrophage functions after acute or chronic alcohol use contribute to impaired host defence against microbial infections. In addition, the humoral and cellular components of the specific immune system can be equally damaged by alcohol use.

Now certainly other substances can jeopardize the immune system as well. We know taping right now and marijuana smoking any kind of inhalation types of drug use, um, puts the lungs further at risk too. But even 200 years ago, the first surgeon general, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote about what he saw as problems with alcohol consumption and significant complications with pneumonia.

How To Avoid Enabling Drug Addiction In Your Loved Ones Life

The best way to recover from alcohol abuse and give your immune system the opportunity to heal is through credible alcohol addiction treatment. Researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside sought to better understand the immune system to try to improve the human response to vaccines and infections. During this study, the researchers allowed monkeys to drink alcohol freely and studied their immune systems’ response. Antibiotics are so important as alcohol has essentially put a stop to any chance of the lungs to naturally rid themselves of bacteria. The accidental inhalation of other fluids such as drinks or vomit can increase the severity of pneumonia infections to often life-threatening levels. With this in mind, always remember the relationship between alcohol and the immune system.

  • And maybe even more important that is that like it or not, as dr Veech will talk about as alcohol has a really strong negative effect on that main gift that we have to fight off this disease, which is heart amazing immune system.
  • To counteract the slowing effect of alcohol, the brain increases certain neurotransmitter activity.
  • Kidneys filter out the substances from your blood, which happen to include alcohol.
  • Your immune system is made up of white blood cells that work to fight infections and other diseases.
  • Our understanding of the complex picture of immunosuppression in chronic alcoholics is also increasing.

Overall, drinking weakens the immune system, which lowers its ability to fight various diseases. Also, heavy consumption raises the likelihood of developing ARDS, a severe complication of COVID-19. Much progress has been made in elucidating the relationship between alcohol consumption and immune function and how this interaction affects human health. Continued advances in this field face several challenges, however.

Ways To Support The Immune System After Drinking

People use it to reduce their feelings of loneliness or sadness. A lot of people use it just to socialize with others and to combat the daily stressors that we face. And maybe even more important that is that like it or not, as dr Veech will talk about as alcohol has a really strong negative effect on that main gift that we have to fight off this disease, which is heart amazing immune system.

Does Alcohol Weaken Our Immune System

Um, and so finding ways and the sobriety systems have made lots of different things available. I had checked out, um, Twitter, which I do not know, which I do not know anything about and don’t use, but I had been able to find even chat groups on Twitter and places like that. So all of the people that are conversant with social media, they can find things really easily.

Drinking Impairs Immune Cells In Key Organs

According to research, alcohol interferes with nearly all cells of the immune system, including lowering the number of white blood cells . It’s still unclear exactly how this happens, but it’s believed that alcohol’s impact on the gut microbiome—the bacteria inside your digestive system—is one significant factor.

To combat the short-term effects of alcohol on the skin, a person can drink water to stay hydrated while consuming alcohol. According to, drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase a person’s risk of developing psoriasis. It can also cause psoriasis to become resistant to treatment. Although all the volunteers said they had engaged in binge drinking prior to the study, none had a Does Alcohol Weaken Our Immune System personal or family history of alcoholism, and all were in good health. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL, which is the legal limit for getting behind the wheel. In general, men reach this level after downing five or more drinks within two hours; for women the number is four.

Can The Use Of Alcohol Affect The Immune System?

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  • The immune system is susceptible to even small changes in the body’s chemical balance.
  • The Mayo Clinic’s findings also indicate that drinking too much alcohol can have a negative impact on the body’s immune system, specifically, that excessive drinking makes it harder for the body to resist disease.
  • If you have other medical conditions, these issues can exacerbate them beyond their normal severity.
  • And if people get more curious about their immune system, then yes, I hope they will do more reading and, you know, looking at either webinars or just looking up some more information about that.

The research on alcohol consumption and how that affects the immune system is mixed. In fact, some older studies suggest that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages rich in antioxidants, such as wine, could be beneficial for the immune system. Our understanding of the complex picture of immunosuppression in chronic alcoholics is also increasing. Understanding the specifics of immune alterations caused by chronic alcohol use will be necessary for designing more specific therapeutic approaches to ameliorate immunosuppression in chronic alcoholics. Study participants’ blood was collected and tested before drinking as well as 20 minutes, two hours and five hours after peak intoxication.

Decreasing Risk For People With Addiction

The first is that, because alcohol is a liquid, its consumption increases the ratio of fluid to particles inside your body. When this occurs your kidneys will regulate the particle-to-fluid ratio by releasing the liquid and causing you to urinate. The second is that alcohol suppresses a hormone called vasopressin, a hormone that tells kidneys to hold onto liquids. When it is suppressed by alcohol, there isn’t enough vasopressin to tell your body to hold onto the liquids, causing you to potentially dehydrate yourself. Just because they’re that fifth area, the spiritual connection is so vital to everything and I just wanted to sort of roll it in really quick. But like faith activities, there are virtual church services doing meditation or journaling, daily gratitudes, a service for others ways that we can help others virtually and physically even at this. But the overarching thing as well that goes into all those areas.

In an observational analysis of UK Biobank participants, light to moderate drinkers had the lowest heart disease risk, followed by people who abstained from drinking; however, light to moderate … Alcohol can potentially weaken your immune system and make it slow and lethargic. Light drinking can have minimal effect but heavier consumption of alcohol can dampen your body’s defense system.