There is now a scientific reason to treat yourself to that beer or glass of wine.  A recent study found that drinking in moderation may boost your immune system and increase longevity.

Mother Jones, a team of researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, conducted this study with 12 rhesus macaques, a species of monkey with a similar immune system to humans.  The monkeys were trained to drink a four percent ethanol cocktail.  The researchers then vaccinated the monkeys against small pox and split them into two groups.  One group was given unlimited access to the cocktails, while the other group was given sugar water.

Some monkeys in the free-alcohol access group drank excessively, displacing blood alcohol content (BACs) higher than 0.08, while others drank moderately, resulting in BACs between 0.02 and 0.04.

After seven months, all the monkeys received a second booster shot.  The monkeys who had been drinking heavily failed to produce the antibodies the body usually makes in response to vaccination.  However, the moderately drinking monkeys actually experienced an increase in immune response.  They produced more antibodies than even the non-drinking control group.

The study shows that moderate drinking may improve the functioning of your immune system.  There you have it – scientific justification for that beer you’ve been craving!

About The Author

Aneri Pattani is a Blast correspondent and journalism student at Northeastern University

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