Heavy Drinking Hinders Immune System

Monday, 03 Oct 2011 12:19 PM

A new study reveals that heavy drinking can worsen the effects of illness and weaken your immune system against viruses.

To see how alcohol affects resistance to infection, Gyongyi Szabo of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and colleagues exposed infection-fighting white blood cells to chemicals that mimic viruses and bacteria.

"Half of the cells were also soused in the levels of alcohol that a person might have in their blood after quaffing four or five alcoholic drinks daily for a week," wrote British scientific magazine New Scientist on the study.

The findings revealed that alcohol weakened the white blood cells defenses, with researchers noting that heavy drinking can lower your immunity to a range of serious viruses, including Hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Szabo, who next hopes to see how alcohol affects flu vaccines, warns that heavy drinkers should beware of the damage they may be causing to their immune systems.

The research was published on September 29 in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Immunology.

Researchers at the University of Santiago of Compostela in Spain revealed earlier this year that students who drank heavily —more than five alcoholic drinks for men and four for women on one occasion — scored lower on a verbal learning test than students who didn't binge drink.

Heavy drinking, long known as a cause of liver damage, is also linked to heart disease, according to a 10-year study in Northern Ireland and France published last year by the British Medical Journal.

What is a safe level of drinking? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cites that for most adults, drinking up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women causes few if any problems. One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

Copyright AFP/Relaxnews

© HealthDay

1Like our page
Monday, 03 Oct 2011 12:19 PM
Newsmax Inc.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved