Why you should STOP ‘stockpiling’ booze: How drinking alcohol will impact your immunity and leave you at higher risk of catching coronavirus
March 16, 2020
Grocery essentials like toilet paper and long-life food are not the only items being snapped up in panic buying sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, with alcoholic drinks also being snapped up by those fearing a long period of enforced isolation.
But stockpiling alcohol might be a bad idea, cording to health experts who say that drinking depletes the body’s immune capacity.
One study from the University of Maryland and Loyola University found that a single episode of binge drinking significantly weakens the body’s immune system.
Scientists gave four or five shots of vodka to 15 healthy male and female volunteers with an average age of 27.
Blood tests after 20 minutes showed that their immune system initially ramped up but the levels of infection-fighting white blood cells had plummeted when they tested them again after two hours and five hours.
There were also higher levels of a type of protein called cytokines that tell the immune system to become less active.
As well as an increased likelihood of sickness due to a dampened immune system, alcohol consumption can also contribute to poor sleep and increased blood sugar levels.
‘The worst part, in my opinion, is that alcohol basically depresses the nervous system,’ Australian personal trainer and lifestyle and nutrition coach, Sarah Hopkins, told FEMAIL.
‘Afterwards the body will give you a shot of adrenaline and cortisol to wake the body up – it’s called the neurological rebound effect.
‘We are totally dis-regulating our sleep cycle for that night and completely suppressing all that magical melatonin that we need.’
Good quality sleep is one thing experts recommend to ward off the risk of getting coronavirus, and drinking reduces the chance of proper rest.
How does alcohol impact the immune system?
* Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body’s immune system in two ways.
* First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of valuable immune-boosting nutrients.
* Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.
* High doses of alcohol suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply, inhibit the action of killer white cells on cancer cells, and lessen the ability of macrophages to produce tumor necrosis factors.
* One drink (which is the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do.
* Damage to the immune system increases in proportion to the quantity of alcohol consumed.
*Amounts of alcohol that are enough to cause intoxication are also enough to suppress immunity.