A research team in Karlsruhe, Germany have reported that daily consumption of alcohol, at a level known to afford protection against coronary heart disease, does not impair the body’s immunological defences against viruses and other disease causing microbes.
Previous studies have already shown that heavy drinkers are much more likely than teetotallers to develop infection. This adverse effect is thought to be attributable to a damaging action of high levels of alcohol on the immune system. The Karlsruhe study set out to investigate some claims regarding the greater potency of red than white wine in safeguarding the body against viruses that cause colds. It was thought that perhaps some substances such as the polyphenols in red wine protected drinkers immune system.
The results unambiguously demonstrated that neither red wine, nor pure alcohol diluted to the same concentration as wine, affected the efficiency of the the body’s immune defences. Similarly neither dealcoholised red wine nor red grape juice, both of which are rich in polyphenols, affected the performance of the immune system.
Source: Daily Moderate Amounts of red Wine or Alcohol Have no effect on the immune system of healthy ment, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004) 58, 40-45, Watzl B.,Bub A., Pretzer G., Roseeer S., Barthh S.W., Rechkemmer G. Institute of Nutritional Physiology, Federal research Centre for Nutrition, Karlsruhe, Germany.