A glass of wine can boost a person’s immune system, scientists say, giving wine lovers more reason to drink the alcoholic beverage. A study by a group of scientists have found that individuals who drink wine and those who have small doses of ethanol have a more robust immune response to infections.
Back in 2007, a group of scientists noted that “light to moderate amounts of polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverages like wine or beer could have health benefits”. At the time, the link between consuming wine and immune response remained a mystery but the debate raged on for a few more years until scientists from the University of Texas in Austin and Oregon Health and Science University found evidence on how wine boosts immunity. The Austin study suggests that red wine, in particular, has the potential to enhance immunity especially for people who consume high fat diets.
According to the team of scientists, high fat diets negatively affect the thymus, the home of T-cells. T-cells, the scientists say, regulate the immune system and should not be hampered to ensure better immune response. Associate professor Christopher Jolly of the University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences said that low doses of polyphenol can be beneficial to the body. Jolly worked on this particular study along with several other scientists from the university.
While Jolly’s team concentrated on Resveratrol, another group of researchers from Oregon Health and Science University claims that pure ethanol can improve the body’s capability to fight off infections. The scientists note, however, that drinking should still be done in moderation.
Behavioural Neuroscience professor Kathy Grant told Wine Spectator that “moderate drinkers produced the most antibodies” against the virus they introduced into their sample population of monkeys. This was in “significantly greater volumes than those same monkeys had, following their first exposure”.
“Most previous studies have shown that alcohol suppresses the immune system. We really didn’t expect that the moderate drinkers would have a much more robust response compared to the nondrinkers,” said Grant.