Boycott booze for immense immunity

If you’re looking to have an immense immune system at the moment or know someone that might need to keep super healthy then grab them or yourself a virgin mary instead of a pinot. It’s well known that ‘excessive alcohol use is associated with reduced host defence including antimicrobial defence, antiviral immunity, and altered host repair’ [1], but did you know even one session of moderate to heavy drinking can inhibit immunity [2]. This means those few glasses of red wine or jaeger bombs you wish you hadn’t had come Saturday morning, may mean you’re both more likely to get ill and have ‘prolonged recovery from infections’ [2].

I know this might not be the news some of you lovely peeps want to hear right now but we want to provide you with this information so you can make informed decisions. Apart from stopping you absorbing enough zinc [5], which as we know is one of the fuels of your immune system, it also disrupts the ‘gut barrier function’ which causes ‘leakage of microbes into the circulation’ [3].

Most importantly, those beautiful immune cells and the lining of your lower airways are weakened [3], which may be why you’re more likely to contract respiratory illnesses like pneumonia [2].

So what to munch, or glug in this case, instead? As we chatted about first, a cheeky virgin mary or another moc

ktail with a bit of zing in it, or for those less keen just grab some herbal teas. Hibiscus tea is an anti-oxidant powerhouse [6] while green tea is an immune booster so these rad and cheap teas offer a double win over booze. Cut out something damaging and replace it with something protective!

As always, don’t take our word for it. Have a read through the evidence we used below and always follow the advice of your health professional.


1] Pavia CS, LaMothe M, Kavanagh M (2004) Influence of alcohol on antimicrobial immunity. Biomed Pharmacother 58:84–89.

2] Szabo, G. and Mandrekar, P., 2009. A recent perspective on alcohol, immunity, and host defense. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 33(2), pp.220-232.

3] Sarkar, D., Jung, M.K. and Wang, H.J., 2015. Alcohol and the immune system. Alcohol research: current reviews, 37(2), p.153.

4] Simet, S.M. and Sisson, J.H., 2015. Alcohol’s effects on lung health and immunity. Alcohol research: current reviews, 37(2), p.199.

5] Prasad AS. Zinc deficiency in patients with sickle cell disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:181-2.

6] Matsumoto K, Yamada H, Takuma N, Niino H, Sagesaka YM. Effects of green tea catechins and theanine on preventing influenza infection among healthcare workers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Feb 21;11:15