The Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

The primary effects of alcohol are on the nerve cells, thus leading to a negative chain of events. The immune system is suppressed because alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream through your stomach. Eighty percent of immune function occurs in the gut but once in the bloodstream, alcohol reduces the white blood cell count in the body.

Why is this so important? Because white blood cells are crucial in fighting off disease and infection.

Additionally, when red blood cells combine with alcohol, it can produce a clumping type effect in the blood vessels. This will in turn restrict the flow of oxygen into many of the vital organs. When we are deprived of oxygen in any part of the body, this will undoubtedly lead to immune suppression.

We all know about the claims that drinking in moderation can actually be beneficial to our health and well being. But keep in mind that alcohol is sugar and not only that, a fermented sugar. The fermentation process is very involved but formaldehyde is commonly used. Formaldehyde is a listed carcinogen in most states. I don’t think that can be too good for the immunity.

The justification for drinking 1-2 drinks a day (the amount that is supposedly safe) is supported when an individual is healthy. But if there are any health issues, most likely the immune system is being compromised in some ways and a couple of drinks will surely not help in the healing process.

Be smart-if you are doing everything possible to avoid getting the flu, if you have come down with flu-like symptoms, if you are around family members or co-workers that have been sick, then your best bet is to stay away from alcohol.

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