Does Alcohol Weaken the Immune System? Yes, If You Drink Too Much

This same does alcohol weaken your immune system also inhibited the in vitro production of IL-6 and IL-12 by peritoneal macrophages harvested 2 hours following injection of LPS (Pruett, Fan et al. 2005). This phenomenon was not observed in a TLR4 mutant mouse, indicating that the acute phase response is mediated by TLR4 . 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. These results could support a role, via an anti-inflammatory mechanism, for moderate alcohol intake in cardiovascular disease prevention.

  • Fernandez-Lizarbe S, Pascual M, Guerri C. Critical role of TLR4 response in the activation of microglia induced by ethanol.
  • Eating the right foods and learning how to meal plan for yourself once you’re out of treatment can help your immune system recover and keep you protected from diseases and viruses like COVID-19.
  • Those who have any of the known risk factors for COVID-19, like heart disease or diabetes, should drink even less.
  • The most significant change was in glucocorticoid receptor signaling, which is known to down-regulate immune activity and inflammation by down-regulating NFκB (Pelaia, Vatrella et al. 2003).
  • In addition to laboratory studies confirming the impact of alcohol consumption on the innate immune system, several studies have looked at how heavy drinking can alter plasma cytokine levels.
  • Um, which I actually wasn’t aware off, but sort of that basic hygiene of keeping yourself cleaned up, not only make you feel better, but it keeps regular germs away from you as well as what we’re dealing with right now.

Drinking alcohol is a major factor in the disruption of the digestive system. As a result, a person experiences gastrointestinal challenges that lower immunity. Manyinpatient treatment centersexist for the rehabilitation of addicts and alcoholics if you believe that you or a loved one drinks excessively. As mentioned above, alcohol disrupts the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut. This leads to inflammation in the stomach and small intestines as well as the liver, pancreas, and other vital organs. In the long run, experts believe inflammation is at the core of many chronic and deadly illnesses.

How Does Alcohol Make You Drunk?

We sort of don’t know what to do and we need to relax or we need something to occupy us and that becomes sort of an easy, easy fix. And so if I can, I’d like to give you some suggestions of things to put in place of that sort of wandering aimlessly 50 times by the cabinet. Um, and so I talked earlier about those five areas of physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual areas. And what I was looking at this, I’ll sort of break things down into, uh, those areas and some of the strategies and gosh, there’s, there’s so much available when we actually start to think about it, but we all know, all of us really do know.


This could be due to the action of certain compounds in red wine that could be contributing to prevent suppression of the immune system caused by alcoholReference Percival and Sims 27. Similarly, wine intake, especially red wine, has been identified as having a protective effect against the common coldReference Takkouche, Regueira-Mendez, Garcia-Closas, Figueiras, Gestal-Otero and Hernan 29. However, the design of this study could be questioned since the duration may have been insufficient to affect the immune system; probably it would take up to six weeks to see changes and differences in the immune system. The dendritic cell , which plays a critical role in T cell activation and initiation of adaptive immune responses, is another innate immune cell affected by ethanol. DCs uptake antigens in peripheral tissues which leads to their maturation, and then travel to draining lymph nodes where they present them to T cells . Heavy drinking and chronic alcohol use can significantly impact the immune system and decrease immune function.

It Starts In The Gut

Alcohol disturbs the lymph system, too, and interferes with the body’s lymphoid tissues. As you might know, the lymph system is responsible for protecting the body from disease and ridding your body of any toxins. According toLive Science, the lymph system works by carrying white blood cells throughout the body to fight any toxic substances .


As vulnerable individuals, they regularly contact carers, friends and family, and other support networks. Regardless of their vaccination status, these individuals come into regular contact with other vulnerable adults, so the chances of spreading the illness are high. Once a wound has healed, excess alcohol can impair the ability of your immune system’s macrophages, also known as “scavenger” cells, to remove excess scar tissue.

What Is Alcoholism?

Many tend to think that alcohol-induced damage to the immune system only occurs in people who use large amounts of alcohol for a long time. Healthy habits, such as being active, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep, can keep your immune system strong.

Only two studies have examined alcohol-induced changes in colonic (Mutlu, Gillevet et al. 2012) and fecal microbiomes (Chen, Yang et al. 2011), and both studies focused on individuals with AUD. Alcohol-induced effects on microglia are less well understood.


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