Moderate drinking may boost your immune system and help fight off infections, a new study finds.
Just in time for New Year's, new research from Oregon Health & Science University found that people who drank alcohol - in moderation - had a reduced risk of death. The research was published Dec. 17 in the journal Vaccine. So, raise a glass and celebrate.
The researchers say the study could help scientists find new ways to better the body's ability to respond to infections and vaccinations.
In order to conduct the study, researchers vaccinated monkeys against smallpox. They separated the monkeys into two groups - one with access to 4% ethanol and one group with access to sugar water and monitored them for 14 months. (All animals had water and food, as well).
Some monkeys drank more than others. They were vaccinated again after seven months.
The heavy drinking monkeys showed less of a response to the vaccine compared to monkeys who drank sugar water. The monkeys who drank moderate amounts of alcohol showed better responses to the vaccine compared to those who drank the water.
Next up, the scientists will try to figure out why the immune system reacts this way to moderate alcohol use.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.