Maybe it was just us, but in college, a shot of vodka was the standard remedy whenever we got a little tickle in our throats. Well, maybe it wasn't exactly curing us, but we definitely told ourselves that the alcohol was killing the germs — or something like that.
Turns out, we were right (sort of). A (very exciting) new study from Oregon Health and Science University has found some serious immune-boosting effects associated with your regular cocktail habit. The study involved 12 rhesus monkeys, which apparently have immune systems very similar to our own. Each monkey got a smallpox vaccination at the beginning of the study, and were then divided into two groups: Six of the monkeys had access to a "cocktail" containing 4% ethanol, while the other 6 only got sugar water.
Over the next several months, the ethanol group was allowed to drink freely, with some monkeys choosing to imbibe just a few sips a day, while others drank to the point of, shall we say, extreme inebriation.
Seven months into the study, the monkeys were given another shot to boost their immune system. The heaviest drinkers failed to produce the antibodies their immune systems should have made in response to the vaccine. The moderate drinkers, on the other hand, showed significant signs of enhanced immune response — that is, their immune systems were more responsive than even the sober control group. Take this as your R29-endorsed excuse to have a cocktail (or two) tonight. (Mother Jones)