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Alcoholism & Addiction

Alcohol Worsens the Effects of Disease and Hinders Immunity

According to medical researchers at the University of Massachusetts, alcohol can have a double negative effect when it comes to the body’s ability to fight off disease. An article in Science Daily showed that although a single treatment of alcohol actually reduced inflammation, delayed or extended alcohol treatments increased inflammation levels in the body.

The research highlighted that alcohol does not help with the effects of certain diseases and can, in fact, cause a longer period of recovery after burns, injury and physical trauma. Alcohol is further known to hinder the response of anti-viral immunity, specifically in the liver. Alcohol alters the function of monocytes and consumption causes a double-negative result of decreasing anti-viral effects of IFN and increasing inflammation of pro-inflammatory TNFa.

The research team focused on two disease-related pathways. The results showed that the activation of both pathways resulted in increases in anti-viral cytokine IFN levels. However, the result was decreased by an alcohol treatment that was equivalent to four to five drinks per day for a week. Likewise, the stimulation of the pathways showed a rise in levels for the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFa.

Researchers concluded that alcohol has a strong effect by inhibiting IFN production of monocytes regardless of the danger signal to both pathways. In addition, prolonged alcohol exposure changes the immune balance of the activation of the monocytes and thus impairs the host response.

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