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A Glass Of Wine May Also Keep The Doctor Away

Update Date: Dec 18, 2013 10:42 AM EST

Alcohol consumption moderately can boost the immune system and subsequently can improve the ability to fight infections, a new study has found.

The study conducted by a team of immunologist at the University of California, Riverside concluded that the moderate consumption of alcohol can ultimately improve the immune response to vaccination.

The findings have opened up a new prospects for interventions to improve our ability to respond to vaccines and infections. The results can also benefit the majority of population for whom vaccines are largely ineffective.

“It has been known for a long time that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower mortality,” said Ilhem Messaoudi, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine in a press release.

“Our study, conducted on non-human primates, shows for the first time that voluntary moderate alcohol consumption boosts immune responses to vaccination,” Messaoudi said.

For the study, scientists trained 12 rhesus macaques to self control alcohol on their own records to study the impact of alcohol. They first vaccinated the animals and then allowed them to access 4 per cent ethanol or calorically matched sugar water.

Process of vaccination was repeated after seven months of starting of the experiment. They concluded that over nine months of animals’ ethanol self-administration, average daily ethanol intake varied markedly among them.

"Like humans, rhesus macaques showed highly variable drinking behaviour. Some animals drank large volumes of ethanol, while others drank in moderation.

Prior to consuming alcohol, all the animals showed comparable responses to vaccination. Following exposure to ethanol, however, the animals showed markedly different responses after receiving the booster vaccine," Messaoudi added in the press release.

The development of the study is published in the journal Vaccine.

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