Moderate drinking boosts immune system, research finds

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Well, this is certainly good news for New Year’s revelers. Seems drinking alcohol — in moderation, of course — actually boosts the immune system.

That’s according to new research from Oregon Health & Science University, USA Today reported. The scientists found that those who drank alcohol actually had a decreased risk for death from various diseases. The study focused on monkeys. The animals were vaccinated against smallpox and split into two groups — one that had access to a 4 percent ethanol drink and the other with access to simple sugar water.

Researchers monitored them for 14 months and found: The monkeys who drank heavy amounts of the alcohol showed less of a response to the vaccine, USA Today said. But the monkeys who drank moderate amounts showed better responses to the vaccine, compared to the sugar water drinkers.

The researchers don’t really know why the monkeys who drank moderately fared better health-wise than the sugar water consumers or the heavy alcohol drinkers, but they may get the chance to find out.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the agencies are providing more money for the scientists to explore the matter deeper, USA Today reported.

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