Alcohol & The Immune System: Does Alcohol Weaken the Immune System?

Alcohol & The Immune System: Does Alcohol Weaken the Immune System?

mayo 3, 2022 Sober living 0

While necessary to fight the infection, the immune response can essentially cause someone to drown as they fight the infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers “moderate drinking” to consist of one standard drink per day for women or two standard drinks per day for men. A “standard drink” is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor. When it comes to immunity, drinking any alcohol puts you at higher risk of getting sick. Drinking on even one occasion can have negative effects on your immunity – for example, by interfering with healthy sleep, which is known to protect against infection. Alcohol has also been found to damage the white blood cells themselves. Specifically, excessive drinking can change the structure of macrophages and T-cells (white blood cells that stimulate the production of other white blood cells, called B-cells, that destroy foreign invaders).

excessive alcohol

This hormone prepares your body to handle stress by raising your heart rate and blood pressure. Cortisol also suppresses your immune system in order to prevent your body from overreacting to stress. Support and therapies that help patients gain long-term sobriety. Of course, our goal is to bring top health to all patients. Let our team steer you in the right direction of successful recovery. Our safe and supportive environment in California makes it easier to complete treatment.

Hurting Your Immune System

Your immune system protects you from harmful threats such as viruses and bacteria. It consists of several different types of white blood cells and proteins and some other components that protect you from harmful infections, such as COVID-19. And then another 30% approximately who do not drink at all. So within the 30% of risky drinkers, again about seven to 10% have a serious alcohol use disorder and heavier drinking. But the other approximately 20% are, um, overdoing it every now and then.

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Heavy alcohol consumption contributes to systemic inflammation by interfering with the body's natural defenses against the influx of gut microbiota and its products.

Worse, even a single night of binge drinking has been shown to reduce immune 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. Alcohol abuse can have immense impacts on your immune system even if you haven’t been drinking for years on end. A suppressed immune system makes your body more susceptible to infection from viruses and bacteria.

How Alcohol Affects The Immune System

While this was just a single experiment, it showed that does alcohol weaken your immune system a lot of alcohol in a single sitting did have a negative effect on the immune response. Moderate alcohol consumption is unlikely to harm your immune system but what does moderate consumption really mean? According to the Government guidelines, that’s no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks in a single session. Alcohol does suppress the immune system and can increase the risk of developing infections such as pneumonia or COVID-19. While alcohol can significantly affect the immune system, many alcohol-related diseases can affect other parts of your body. Most alcohol-related diseases are more likely to occur in someone who has been using alcohol chronically. However, any alcohol use starts to raise your risk of an alcohol-related disease.

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs. Anyone can get pneumonia, however, heavy alcohol use increases your risk. Your immune system defends your body against infection and recovers it from injury.1 Many factors affect the immune system, so does alcohol lower your immune system response? Heavy use of alcohol and immune system are, in fact, closely related in negative ways. Refrain from drinking if you’re worried about getting sick, and if you are drinking, stick to the guidelines of no more than 2 standard drinks per day and a maximum of 10 per week.

Here are some alcohol-free strategies for coping with pandemic stress:

Alcohol also reduces sleep quality, which increases a person’s chances of getting sick and recovering from illnesses. Adequate sleep helps the body fight off infections and viruses, and the less sleep you get, the less your immune system can protect your body. With regard to cell-mediated immunity, a reduction in CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ cell numbers has been found after chronic alcohol administration in male ratsReference Boyadjieva, Dokur, Advis, Meadows and Sarkar 19. In contrast, in humans an increase in absolute values of the CD3+ lymphocytes has been recently found after 30 days of moderate beer consumptionReference Romeo, Warnberg, Nova, Díaz, González-Gross and Marcos 11.

Many who alcohol to excess rely on others’ help and support and cannot self-isolate. As vulnerable individuals, they regularly contact carers, friends and family, and other support networks.