Cocktails Are the New Flu Shots

Many centennials attribute their longevity to a daily dram of whisky or a cocktail, and studies have shown that a little bit of booze can reduce inflammation. Now, science is saying that moderate alcohol consumption could actually help boost your immune system—just in time for flu season. It’s all thanks to a few tipsy monkeys.

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University trained 12 rhesus macaques, who have immune systems similar to humans, to drink doses of four-percent ethanol alcohol. Then they vaccinated the monkeys against smallpox and separated them into two groups. Group one had access to the alcohol, group two was given sugar water and both groups were supplied with food and plain water. Researchers observed the monkeys for 14 months and realized their drinking habits were similar to our own. Some monkeys drank alcohol all day long and reached blood ethanol concentrations higher than 0.08, while others practiced moderation and clocked in between 0.02 and 0.04.

After these monkeys partied hearty for seven months, they received another booster shot, which elicited some interesting results. The monkeys that were boozing all day failed to produce antibodies, which is the body’s normal reaction to this vaccine. But the moderate drinkers actually showed signs of an improved immune system—even better than that of the teetotaling monkeys. Researchers are still trying to fully decipher the results, but this could mean a drink or two a day is actually better for you than no drink when it comes to protecting yourself against illness. Maybe there is some truth in the Hot Toddy’s curative properties after all.