Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 15
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Liu, Ping Holman, C. D’Arcy J. Jin, Jie and Zhang, Min 2016. Alcohol consumption and risk of myelodysplastic syndromes: a case–control study. Cancer Causes & Control, Vol. 27, Issue. 2, p. 209.

    Aroonvilairat, Soraya Kespichayawattana, Wannapa Sornprachum, Thiwaree Chaisuriya, Papada Siwadune, Taweeratana and Ratanabanangkoon, Kavi 2015. Effect of Pesticide Exposure on Immunological, Hematological and Biochemical Parameters in Thai Orchid Farmers— A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 12, Issue. 6, p. 5846.

    Spector, June T. De Roos, Anneclaire J. Ulrich, Cornelia M. Sheppard, Lianne Sjo¨din, Andreas Wener, Mark H. Wood, Brent and McTiernan, Anne 2014. Plasma polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations and immune function in postmenopausal women. Environmental Research, Vol. 131, p. 174.

    del Campo, Marta L. Halitschke, Rayko Short, Sarah M. Lazzaro, Brian P. and Kessler, André 2013. Dietary plant phenolic improves survival of bacterial infection inManduca sextacaterpillars. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, Vol. 146, Issue. 3, p. 321.

    Joosten, Michel M. van Erk, Marjan J. Pellis, Linette Witkamp, Renger F. and Hendriks, Henk F. J. 2012. Moderate alcohol consumption alters both leucocyte gene expression profiles and circulating proteins related to immune response and lipid metabolism in men. British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 108, Issue. 04, p. 620.

    Nova, E. Baccan, G. C. Veses, A. Zapatera, B. and Marcos, A. 2012. Potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption: current perspectives in research. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Vol. 71, Issue. 02, p. 307.

    Allen, N E Balkwill, A Beral, V Green, J and Reeves, G 2011. Fluid intake and incidence of renal cell carcinoma in UK women. British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 104, Issue. 9, p. 1487.

    Liberman, Diego Nique Pilau, Roberta Manjabosco Gaio, Eduardo José Orlandini, Lorena Floriani and Rösing, Cassiano Kuchenbecker 2011. Low concentration alcohol intake may inhibit spontaneous alveolar bone loss in Wistar rats. Archives of Oral Biology, Vol. 56, Issue. 2, p. 109.

    Sato, Junya Takahashi, Ippei Umeda, Takashi Matsuzaka, Masashi Danjyo, Kazuma Tsuya, Ryosuke Kida, Kazuyuki Takami, Hideki and Nakaji, Shigeyuki 2011. Effect of alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking on neutrophil functions in adults. Luminescence, Vol. 26, Issue. 6, p. 557.

    Romeo, Javier Wärnberg, Julia and Marcos, Ascensión 2010. Drinking pattern and socio-cultural aspects on immune response: an overview. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Vol. 69, Issue. 03, p. 341.

    Anstey, Kaarin J. Mack, Holly A. and Cherbuin, Nicolas 2009. Alcohol Consumption as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Cognitive Decline: Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vol. 17, Issue. 7, p. 542.

    Gao, Lei Weck, Melanie N. Stegmaier, Christa Rothenbacher, Dietrich and Brenner, Hermann 2009. Alcohol consumption and chronic atrophic gastritis: Population-based study among 9,444 older adults from Germany. International Journal of Cancer, Vol. 125, Issue. 12, p. 2918.

    Maldonado, Maria D. Moreno, Hector and Calvo, Juan R. 2009. Melatonin present in beer contributes to increase the levels of melatonin and antioxidant capacity of the human serum. Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 28, Issue. 2, p. 188.

    Peres, Renato G. Micke, Gustavo A. Tavares, Marina F. M. and Rodriguez-Amaya, Delia B. 2009. Multivariant optimization, validation, and application of capillary electrophoresis for simultaneous determination of polyphenols and phenolic acids in Brazilian wines. Journal of Separation Science, Vol. 32, Issue. 21, p. 3822.

    Szabo, Gyongyi and Mandrekar, Pranoti 2009. A Recent Perspective on Alcohol, Immunity, and Host Defense. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 33, Issue. 2, p. 220.


Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: A review

  • Javier Romeo (a1), Julia Wärnberg (a1), Esther Nova (a1), Ligia E. Díaz (a1), Sonia Gómez-Martinez (a1) and Ascensión Marcos (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2007

Increasing evidence suggests that light to moderate amounts of polyphenol-rich alcoholic beverages like wine or beer could have health benefits. Scientists have long debated the effects of alcohol on immune function, showing on the one hand, that high doses of alcohol consumption can directly suppress a wide range of immune responses, and that alcohol abuse is associated with an increased incidence of a number of infectious diseases. On the other hand, moderate alcohol consumption seems to have a beneficial impact on the immune system compared to alcohol abuse or abstinence. Therefore, the link between alcohol consumption, immune response, as well as infectious and inflammatory processes remains not completely understood. With this in mind, it is important to realise that other factors, unrelated or indirectly related to immune function, like drinking patterns, beverage type, amount of alcohol, or gender differences, will affect the influence that alcohol consumption may have on the immune system. This review summarises published data describing the effects that light to moderate amounts of polyphenol-rich beverages like wine or beer seem to have on immunity in healthy adults.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: A review
      Your Kindle email address
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: A review
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system: A review
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr. Javier Romeo Marín, fax +34 915493627, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

3G Szabo (1998) Monocytes, alcohol use, and altered immunity. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 22, 216S219S.

4RR MacGregor (1986) Alcohol and immune defense. JAMA 256, 14741479.

7RC Engs & M Aldo-Benson (1995) The association of alcohol consumption with self-reported illness in university students. Psychol Rep 76, 727736.

8S Cohen , DA Tyrrell , MA Russell , MJ Jarvis & AP Smith (1993) Smoking, alcohol consumption, and susceptibility to the common cold. Am J Public Health 83, 12771283.

9CL Mendenhall , SA Theus , GA Roselle , CJ Grossman & SD Rouster (1997) Biphasic in vivo immune function after low- versus high-dose alcohol consumption. Alcohol 14, 255260.

10LE Diaz , A Montero , M González-Gross , AI Vallejo , J Romeo & A Marcos (2002) Influence of alcohol consumption on immunological status: a review. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 5053.

11J Romeo , J Warnberg , E Nova , LE Díaz , M González-Gross & A Marcos (2007) Changes in the Immune System after Moderate Beer Consumption. Ann Nutr Metab 51, 359366.

12J Romeo , J Warnberg , LE Díaz , M González-Gross & A Marcos (2007) Effects of moderate beer consumption on first-line immunity of healthy adults. J Physiol Biochem 63, 153160.

13V Jimenez , DP Cardinali , MP Alvarez , MP Fernandez , V Boggio & AI Esquifino (2005) Effect of chronic ethanol feeding on 24-hour rhythms of mitogenic responses and lymphocyte subset populations in thymus and spleen of peripubertal male rats. Neuroimmunomodulation 12, 357365.

14AP Bautista (2001) Free radicals, chemokines, and cell injury in HIV-1 and SIV infections and alcoholic hepatitis. Free Radical Biology Medicine 31, 15271532.

15 Deaciuc IV (1997) Alcohol and cytokine networks. Alcohol 14, 421430.

16G Szabo (1999) Consequences of alcohol consumption on host defence. Alcohol Alcohol 34, 830841.

17M Budec , O Ciric , V Koko & R Asanin (1992) The possible mechanism of action of ethanol on rat thymus. Drug Alcohol Depend 30, 181185.

18RT Cook (1998) Alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and damage to the immune system. A review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 22, 19271942.

19NI Boyadjieva , M Dokur , JP Advis , GG Meadows & DK Sarkar (2002) Beta-endorphin modulation of lymphocyte proliferation: effects of ethanol. Alcohol Clin Exp 26, 17191727.

20MJ Dominguez-Santalla , C Vidal , J Vinuela , LF Perez & A Gonzalez-Quintela (2001) Increased serum IgE in alcoholics: relationship with Th1/Th2 cytokine production by stimulated blood mononuclear cells. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 25, 11981205.

21FT Crews , R Bechara , LA Brown , (2006) Cytokines and Alcohol. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 30, 720730.

22A Gonzalez-Quintela , MJ Dominguez-Santalla , LF Perez , C Vidal , S Lojo & E Barrio (2000) Influence of acute alcohol intake and alcohol withdrawal on circulating levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-12. Cytokine 12, 14371440.

23J Daniluk , A Szuster-Ciesielska , J Drabko & M Kandefer-Szerszen (2001) Serum cytokine levels in alcohol-related liver cirrhosis. Alcohol 23, 2934.

24C Winkler , B Wirleitner , K Schroecksnadel , H Schennach & D Fuchs (2006) Beer down-regulates activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. Int Immunopharmacol 6, 390395.

25P Mandrekar , D Catalano , B White & G Szabo (2006) Moderate alcohol intake in humans attenuates monocyte inflammatory responses: inhibition of nuclear regulatory factor kappa B and induction of interleukin 10. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 30, 135139.

28M Fenech , C Stockley & C Aitken (1997) Moderate wine consumption protects against hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage. Mutagenesis 12, 289296.

29B Takkouche , C Regueira-Mendez , R Garcia-Closas , A Figueiras , JJ Gestal-Otero & MA Hernan (2002) Intake of wine, beer, and spirits and the risk of clinical common cold. Am J Epidemiol 155, 853858.

30B Watzl , A Bub , G Pretzer , S Roser , SW Barth & G Rechkemmer (2004) Daily moderate amounts of red wine or alcohol have no effect on the immune system of healthy men. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 4045.

31A Imhof , M Woodward , A Doering , N Helbecque , H Loewel , P Amouyel , GD Lowe & W Koenig (2004) Overall alcohol intake, beer, wine, and systemic markers of inflammation in western Europe: results from three MONICA samples. Eur Heart J 25, 20922100.

33R Estruch , E Sacanella , E Badia , E Antúnez , JM Nicolás , J Fernández-Solá , D Rotilio , G de Gaetano , E Rubin & A Urbano-Márquez (2004) Different effects of red wine and gin consumption on inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis: a prospective randomized crossover trial: effects of wine on inflammatory markers. Atherosclerosis 175, 1171123.

34JA Vinson , M Mandarano , M Hirst , JR Trevithick & P Bose (2003) Phenol antioxidant quantity and quality in foods: beers and the effect of two types of beer on an animal model of atherosclerosis. J Agric Food Chem 51, 55285533.

36M Nardini , F Natella , C Scaccini & A Ghiselli (2006) Phenolic acids from beer are absorbed and extensively metabolized in humans. J Nutr Biochem 17, 1422.

37RL Wilder (1998) Hormones, pregnancy and autoimmune diseases. Ann N Y Acad Sci 840, 4550.

38JAP Da Silva (1999) Sex hormones and glucocorticoids: interactions with the immune system. Ann N Y Acad Sci 876, 102117.

40HB Liu , KK Loo , K Palaszynski , J Ashouri , DB Lubahn & RR Voskuhl (2003) Estrogen receptor alpha mediates estrogen's immune protection in autoimmune disease. J Immunol 171, 69366940.

41CJ Grossman , M Nienaber , CL Mendenhall , P Hurtubise , GA Roselle , S Rouster , N Weber , G Schmitt & PS Gartside (1993) Sex differences and the effects of alcohol on immune response in male and female rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 17, 832840.

42JA Spitzer & P Zhang (1996) Gender differences in phagocytic responses in the blood and liver, and the generation of cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant in the liver of cutely ethanol-intoxicated rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 20, 914920.

43A Colantoni , R Idilman , N De Maria , N La Paglia , J Belmonte , F Wezeman , N Emanuele , DH Van Thiel , EJ Kovacs & MA Emanuele (2003) Hepatic apoptosis and proliferation in male and female rats fed alcohol: role of cytokines. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 27, 11841189.

44E Baraona , CS Abittan , K Dohmen , M Moretti , G Pozzato , ZW Chayes , C Schaefer & CS Lieber (2001) Gender Differences in Pharmacokinetics of Alcohol. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 25, 40S45S.

46RE LaPorte , JL Cresanta & LH Kuller (1980) The relationship of alcohol consumption to atherosclerotic heart disease. Prev Med 9, 2240.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *