Spring is here and beckoning many who feel the need to let loose. Sometimes people let go a little too much, however. In the US around 5 million ER visits a year are attributable to alcohol related incidences. This has also increased around 61% from 2006-2014 and seems to be rising. The acute symptoms of alcohol poisoning and impairment are obvious reasons why people might go to the ER.
Is alcohol necessarily unhealthy though?
That’s a tricky question to answer. Meta studies seem to suggest that light to moderate alcohol intake can have an immune system boosting response. Moderate intake being 10-12 g and 20-24 g of alcohol daily for women and men, respectively.
A glass of red wine a day is often said to be beneficial, and it seems to be true in some regard. Wine is rich in polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. Resveratrol, one of such polyphenols, may be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which leads to a lower risk of heart disease.
It’s not clear whether red wine has benefits not found within beer or other liquors, though. Moderate intake of beer has also been correlated with better cholesterol levels and a lower risk to heart disease. Additionally, a consumption of either alcoholic beverage was found to be correlated with lower instances of diabetes and higher bone density within men and women.
Regardless, high doses of alcohol consumption can directly suppress a wide range of immune responses and is associated with an increased incidence of infectious diseases. Binging for any given period of time, even a weekend, isn’t so easily justified unfortunately. It’s also not recommended to start drinking for any health benefits if you don’t already consume alcohol regularly.
- Alcohol binges can have additional immune system externalities to account for
- Moderation when drinking, along with exercise and cleanliness, is your best chance at fighting sickness
- If you don’t drink, the health benefits are not substantial enough to start