Alcohol And The Immune System: Why You May Want To Stay Dry This Winter

That said, evidence also shows that even smaller amounts of alcohol can affect the immune system. But when you’ve ingested too much alcohol for your liver to process in a timely manner, the toxic substance begins to take its toll on your body, starting with your liver. “The oxidative metabolism of alcohol generates molecules that inhibit fat oxidation in the liver and, subsequently, can lead to a condition known as fatty liver,” says Dr. Menon. Your liver detoxifies and removes alcohol from the blood through a process known as oxidation.

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Not only that, but those who drink alcohol to excess may feel more inclined to engage in unsafe social activity, irrelevant of any laws that already exist where they live. Whether it’s at the local bar or in an outdoor space, one’s inhibitions decrease when intoxicated. In the case of some, this can lead to spreading through physical contact, which they could otherwise avoid if the individual could refrain during sobriety. Many who drink 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.

Does Binge Drinking Suppress Your Immune System More?

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 . You need to maintain a robust, healthy immune system to protect yourself from infections such as COVID-19. Cut down on your alcohol consumption over time, take it slow, and always seek a doctor who can advise you on how best to do so. Despite the damaging effects of alcohol on the immune system, it is still possible to decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19 and other viral infections by reducing the amount you drink. Your risk of developing alcohol addiction increases with every drink you consume.

does alcohol weaken your immune system

Like any addiction, seek the advice of a professional who can put a program in place for you to ensure the safest route to recovery. Suppose you understand you have an addictive personality does alcohol weaken your immune system and notice a clear pattern of increased consumption. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin’s deeper layers that causes pain, swelling, and, redness in the skin’s infected area.

How alcohol affects the innate immune system

A lung abscess can lead to cough, chest pain, fever, fatigue, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, sputum, and, empyema. After alcohol exits a person’s body, the immune system will improve. There are other ways to encourage enhanced immunity as well. Overall, a person’s gastrointestinal system is quite delicate. Essentially, it balances organisms that help with digestion and the absorption of valuable nutrients.

does alcohol weaken your immune system

Steatosis—Steatosis occurs in more than 90% of those who consume 4 to 5 standard drinks per day over decades. (A standard drink is one that has about 0.5 fluid ounces, or 14 grams, of pure alcohol.) Steatosis can also develop after an episode of binge drinking, which is having 4 to 5 standard drinks in 2 hours or less. Although all the volunteers said they had engaged in binge drinking prior to the study, none had a personal or family history of alcoholism, and all were in good health. To get started or to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment, fill out our form or contact us today. The question is, how long does it take for your immune system to recover? In some cases, immediately stopping drinking can improve your immune health. In other cases where you’ve been drinking excessively for extended periods of time, it can take longer for the damage to be reversed.

How Much Alcohol Is a Problem For Your Immunity?

By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others. Lisa Keeley is a freelance writer who believes in the uplifting power of words. She especially enjoys writing about health, relationships, employment, and living one’s best life. Lisa has a Master’s in Education and previously worked in vocational and educational services. Her articles can be found on Your Tango, Thrive Global, Heart to Heart, Medium, Muck Rack, and on various professional websites. Get in touch with a member of our team today, or learn more about how it works.

  • For women, this reduces to three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks over a week.
  • The best way to recover from alcohol abuse and give your immune system the opportunity to heal is through credible alcohol addiction treatment.
  • “When you’re feeling run down or like you might get sick, you want to be well hydrated so that all the cells in your body have enough fluid in them and can work really well,” Favini says.
  • TheNIAAAdefines heavy drinking as consuming more than three drinks per day for women or more than four per day for men.
  • Additionally, alcohol can impair your liver’s ability to process B vitamins.

If you’re concerned about someone’s drinking habits and are searching for solutions, seeking professional support like rehab near me could be the right step. Alcohol addiction often creeps up gradually, making it tough for individuals to acknowledge the issue.


However, taking action is crucial, especially considering how alcohol weakens the immune system, leaving individuals susceptible to infections like pneumonia or COVID-19. Encouraging a loved one to explore rehabs near me, seeking support within their immediate vicinity, can assist in addressing their addiction and improving their overall health, a crucial step especially in times of heightened health concerns. This approach can facilitate access to timely care and a supportive environment for their recovery journey.

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