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Effects of alcohol on immune system

Table of Content

  1. Alcohol and Diseases Related to the Immune System
  2. Diseases Related to Immunodeficiency
  3. Pneumonia
  4. Tuberculosis
  5. HIV
  6. Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B
  7. Changes in the Immune System of Alcoholics
  8. Therapeutic Measures

Drinking for only one night can affect your immune system, the affects starts appearing just after 20 minutes of alcohol consumption. There is less known about the effects of alcohol on immune system. Both in men and in animal’s studies have shown that alcohol starts affecting and impart its intoxication effects on immune system after exposing for several hours to days. This happens even when blood alcohol in no more detectable.

The alcohol abuse and its effect on the immune system are one of the less appreciated medical problem. The excess alcohol consumption always leads to immune deficiencies and in return causes susceptibility to many diseases. It has life threatening problems associated with it such as liver damage can be a component of autoimmunity. This is a condition in which your immune system turns on your body’s own tissues.


Scientists and doctors observed that alcohol consumption not only lead to liver damage but also causes serious illness from infectious and death causing diseases such as pneumonia. The increased in disease results from the immunodeficiency mainly caused by the high alcohol consumption. It is also known that the damage such as liver damage is caused in those people who drink heavily and their immune system starts attacking its own tissues as a result of alcohol triggered autoimmunity.


in the current century researchers have observed that alcoholics were more likely to die from pneumonia then non alcoholics and there number is twice then non alcoholics. Although the antibiotics are available but still the alcoholics are susceptible to attack by pneumonia. Additionally the study of all the patients having pneumonia reveled that most of them are alcohol abusers although they have not been investigated as alcoholics. The effects of alcohol consumption on illness and pneumonia are tremendously huge.




the severity and incidence of tuberculosis is far more common in alcoholics than in non alcoholics. According to one estimate almost 16% of the TB patients are alcoholic and in some population their number is increased up to 35%. In alcoholics the long term studies have shown that the rate of TB is faster in more than 15 to 200 times than in control population. In the past few decades the rate of TB increases due to the presence of HIV virus in drugs and alcoholic beverages. So it is now clear that the death rate is increased in those individuals who are affected by TB after having alcohol abuse.



The infection with HIV results in the AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). It is the most deadly disease and is known as epidemics of our time and affect million individuals worldwide. It can be easily transmitted through sexual intercourse or by the use of used syringes by drug addicts. The alcohol abusers are normally more affected due to somewhat risky sex practices as compared to the non-abusers. At this time two questions can be raised which include: the first question which must be raised is that whether alcohol consumption at the time of exposure or before exposure can increase the susceptibility to infection.



The second question s that whether the alcohol consumption helps in developing the HIV to full blown AIDS.  The studies using the white blood cells of an infected individual produce different and conflicting results. One such research group reported the increased level of HIV after prior alcohol abuse by some one donors of the cells. While another group report the no results of HIV rate increase with alcohol abuse. But in recent years it is reported that the abnormalities in the lymphocytes are much more for alcohol abusers than in those individuals who are not prone to alcohol consumption. It is estimated that he infected Individuals and non-infected alcohol drinkers must have to sacrifice their immune systems.

Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B

the recent studies have tried to attempt to determine some relationship between alcohol and hepatitis B and hepatitis C. it is estimated after careful study that the health and risk factors in case of HBC don’t increase in case of alcoholic individuals than in nonalcoholic individuals but reverse is the case for HCV they have almost 10% increase of chances of hepatitis. If we only include the alcohol and exclude the all other factors then the chances of HBV and HCV are increases from 10 to 50% of the total hepatitis cases. These kind of hepatitis patients are suffering from two kinds of symptoms such as alcoholism and nonalcoholic viral infection. Theses have additive or synergic effects on the individual which in turn badly damage the liver. Both of these conditions are known to affect the immune system and produce autoimmunity and immunodeficiency.


Changes in the Immune System of Alcoholics

The alcoholics have raised levels of immunoglobulins in their blood. The major classes which include under the heading of immunoglobulins are A, G and M. all of these have specific roles in the immune system.  The IgA type is found in the blood of alcoholics whether they have liver disease or not. The IgM is found in these patients which have active liver damage like alcoholic hepatitis. IgA can also be found easily in the tissues deposits of liver, skin and kidney of alcohol addicts. It is known that an increase in the antibody is associated with the specific immunity, such as those immunities arise from vaccination, the alcoholics which are known to have increased levels of these antibody are mostly immunodeficient. The higher level of antibodies is due to the irregular production of antibodies or they may arise due to autoimmunity. The consequences of these mediated antibodies is that alcoholics have reduced response to fungal skin test or tuberculin. The isolated lymphocytes which are taken from alcoholics also show reduction in the immune response system.  Number of reviews explain the cell mediated immunity in most of the alcoholics. It is estimated that the number of lymphocytes is normal in those individuals who are not suffering from liver disease while number show great variation in those individuals who are suffering from liver disorders due to alcohol abuse. In case of alcoholic hepatitis the number of lymphocytes reduces but it can be easily triggered after few weeks. But patients suffering from alcoholic cirrhosis have lymphopenia characterized by the reduction in the number of lymphocytes. The abnormalities in the immune system and its functioning can be correlated with the changes in the percentage of lymphocytes or by some kind of changes in the cell surface makers.

Therapeutic Measures

alcohol impart great effects on cellular, molecular and at organ level.  The effects may be prominent by the use of alcohol that is consumed in binge like episodes, in acute or in some cases in chronic excess. To handle all these the therapeutic measures must be done on some specific goals. The researchers determine in order to perform therapeutic attentions that whether the problems are due to restoration of TH1/TH2 balance, repair of the scaring might be produce by the autoimmune process of your body or reduction in the autoimmune process. You can prevent the acute alcoholic liver injury by many ways which can also be applied to recover the immune system. The most comalc immmunmon therapeutic measures include the administration of substances like antibodies against the endotoxin (LPS) or it may be done against specific cytokines receptor such those cytokines which are soluble and absorb the excess cytokines e.g. the cytokine receptor antagonists, the adhesion molecule antagonists, apply drugs which have the ability to suppress the cytokines production or their specific responses and use those drugs which have known and prominent wide spread effects like improvement of your gut integrity.

In most of the cases the scientist or investigators deal with problems such as pneumonia or alcoholic hepatitis. In treating pneumonia most groups used the GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulation factor) which might improve the neutrophil number and hence increase the functioning. GCSF is known as the specific neutrophil growth factor which must increase the growth of neutrophil and in turn enhance their activity.

These are some therapeutic measures which are necessary in order to have successful life. If you want to have healthy growth of your skeleton must avoid the alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The stimulations caused by the drugs can helping icing you relief against the pain which might be felt in the bones of complete skeleton. One can easily get rid of skeletal issues by giving away your alcohol drinking ability. Sometime you need specific antigens against some diseases which must be initiated by the use of drugs so that you can enjoy the cheerful life. The therapeutic measures include the handling of diseases caused by alcohol consumption. For this purpose you must need to visit a physician and have to follow all the directions to avoid alcohol drinking. He may advice you a hospitalization because there you will be kept under complete check and balance this will definitely ended up with fruitful results.

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