Immune System Plummets With Intoxication, Study Shows

immune system plummets with alcohol ingestion

New research has suggested that just one night of binge drinking can disrupt your entire immune system. / Image: Shay via Flickr CC.

There’s more to worry about when you party hard during the holidays. New research has suggested that just one night of binge drinking can disrupt your entire immune system. Recently there was a small study conducted that was published in the journal Alcohol, where researchers had 15 participants get intoxicated via vodka shots.

After, researchers took blood samples from the participants–20 minutes, two hours and five hours after they’d gotten their blood alcohol concentration level to 0.1%. When looking at markers in those samples, the results showed that participants’ immune systems were ramped up at just the 20-minute mark. But after that, their immune system activity dropped below what the regular “sober” levels were.

Past research has shown a similar connection between binge drinking and an immune response, especially in terms of hangovers. When the immune system is suppressed like this, it’s often harder for our bodies to recover from injuries, and it is more likely we can catch an illness. So take it easy on those glasses of champagne at the next party to make sure you stay well through this season and start 2015 off right!

In other drinking news, in Portland at Oregon Health and Science University, researchers discovered that birds do slur their songs when drunk. The study’s purpose, conducted by Christopher Olson, Ph.D., is to research why alcohol has the slurring effect on human speech. He said that this research isn’t easy to do on humans, so he picked finches for the study because they learn song patterns the same way humans learn how to speak. Confirmation that slurred speech happens in finches as well as humans is a big step toward finishing the remainder of the study—so stay tuned for that.

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