Alcohol also affects immunity. What is the risk of liver dysfunction?

Alcohol lowers immunity ... Last time, I introduced the research results that are very interesting to people who like alcohol. According to Ryo Abe, a specially appointed professor at Teikyo University who specializes in immunology, alcohol not only has a direct adverse effect on the human immune system, but also has a "secondary" effect by inducing various diseases. And said that it could be more serious. Kaori Haishi, a liquor journalist, asked in detail about the measures.

Alcohol lowers immunity.

This case that has been said in the streets (Chimata).

I wanted it to be just a rumor, but in the previous article ("The stronger the alcohol, the greater the risk! Alcohol lowers immunity"), alas, it turned out to be true.

Our body has a very well-developed immune system that protects us from viruses and other pathogens. It is composed of three stages: innate barrier, innate immunity, and acquired immunity. At each stage, various immune cells work to eliminate pathogens, but alcohol has a direct adverse effect at each stage.

For example, alcoholic beverages with a high alcohol content that make the throat tingle damage the mucous membrane of the throat, which is a natural barrier, and weaken immunity. And macrophages that feed on pathogens, which are active in innate immunity, are impaired or confused by alcohol. In addition, there is research on animal experiments in which lymphocytes such as T cells and B cells that work in acquired immunity are affected by alcohol in some way.

But scaryly, "the effects of alcohol on immunity do not end there," says Ryo Abe, a specially appointed professor at Teikyo University's Center for Strategic Innovation Research, who specializes in immunology. In addition to these direct effects, "alcohol can lead to a variety of illnesses, and the resulting secondary immunity effects can be more serious."

I will continue to talk to Mr. Abe.

Lifestyle-related diseases and decreased liver function from drinking are more scary

Teacher, what does it mean that alcohol not only has a direct adverse effect on the immune system, but also secondarily lowers the immune system ...?

"As I said last time, it's true that alcohol affects the immune system, including the natural barrier. However, drinking alcohol can have a greater effect than that. The next negative effect is. To put it simply, chronic overdrinking of alcohol and overeating of snacks increase the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and arteriosclerosis, and reduce liver function. It means that doing so also has a negative effect on immunity. "

Certainly, when you drink too much alcohol, even if alcohol has a direct negative effect on your immune system, it is temporary, and as your hangover gets better, your immune system will gradually recover. Maybe. On the other hand, if you become a lifestyle-related disease after many years of drinking alcohol, this will lead to chronically weakened immunity.

"Secondary" effects of alcohol on immunity

As I have mentioned many times in this column, drinking too much alcohol induces diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, liver dysfunction, and cancer. People suffering from these diseases are said to be at risk in this situation, where their immunity is weak and the new coronavirus infection is widespread. So how do these diseases affect immunity?

"Thinkable is" blood flow. "In diabetes, hyperglycemia causes blood to become muddy, and in arteriosclerosis, blood vessels become stiff, resulting in poor blood flow. Poor blood flow is necessary. Immune cells will not reach where the body needs it. "

No matter how sophisticated the immune system is, there was a weakness called "blood flow" ... In recent years, the importance of blood vessel age has been emphasized, but it seems that the condition of blood vessels and blood flow have a great influence on immunity. But what about liver dysfunction?

"When alcohol is metabolized in the liver, acetaldehyde is produced in the process. If you continue to drink a lot, the liver will not be able to break down acetaldehyde, and this time acetaldehyde will attack the cells of the liver. This reduces liver function and weakens immunity. "

The liver has the role of recreating the nutrition obtained from the diet so that the body can use it easily and supplying it as needed. When this function declines, the elements necessary for the immune system, such as immune cells and antibodies, are deficient. It is also the role of the liver to metabolize harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, and ammonia produced in the body, but if these functions slow down and harmful substances accumulate, it may adversely affect the function of immune cells. ..

And Mr. Abe continued like this.

"When diabetes and arteriosclerosis occur, the function of the heart also deteriorates. The heart is an important organ as a pump that pumps blood to the whole body. When the function of the heart deteriorates, various disorders appear in various parts of the body and blood flow also It gets worse, which further affects immunity. "

"Stress relief" is another way

As the story goes on, all the content is painful for sake lovers ...

We all know that in order not to lower the immune system, we must refrain from drinking in a way that raises the risk of diabetes and arteriosclerosis mentioned earlier.

However, "not drinking at all" is rather stressful for liquor lovers. Professor Abe, could you give me some good advice so that you don't get stressed?

"As you say, for those who like alcohol, abstinence is rather stressful. Stress has an adverse effect on immunity, so I think it's a good idea to devise a way of drinking. It is the first stage of immunity. It is safe to avoid alcoholic beverages with a high alcohol content that will make your throat tingle so as not to damage the mucous membrane of the natural barrier. If you really want to drink alcohol, it is recommended to divide it with carbonated water or water. Also, in order not to increase the risk of lifestyle diseases and cancer, do not drink too much. I would like you to take a rest day as well. "

Those who like to drink whiskey and gin straight on a daily basis should be careful. Of course, I want to avoid the habit of heavy drinking so that I don't get sick. The appropriate amount is about 1 go for sake, 1 medium bottle for beer, and 2 glasses for wine per day. Mr. Abe also gave me this kind of advice.

"I think many people have increased their drinking at home due to the new coronavirus, but I would like them to take this opportunity to update their drinking style. One is that alcohol is not a stress-relieving tool. However, if you drink to relieve stress, the amount of alcohol you drink will inevitably increase. Let's release stress by something other than alcohol, such as exercise. "

Since the declaration of emergency, the number of people drinking at home has increased, and it seems that many people have increased the amount of alcohol they drink more than ever. In addition, due to changes in lifestyle, stress increases, and many people will end up drinking alcohol. However, since I no longer have to go to work, I have more free time, and I often hear positive stories about starting jogging and walking.

Teacher, exercise is not only a stress-relieving tool that replaces alcohol, but it is also effective in boosting immunity, isn't it?

"That's right, but let's keep it in a reasonable range, because exercising becomes a" duty "and it becomes stressful. Also, strenuous exercise boosts immunity. There is also data to lower it. "

By the way, I've heard that "athletes tend to catch colds". It is believed that "when the body is stressed by strenuous exercise, a stress hormone called cortisol (corticosteroid) is secreted, which suppresses immunity."

"It's good for immunity to do moderate exercise that you can continue at your own pace. Light walking, using stairs instead of elevators is enough. Slow movement yoga is also good. I want to try it myself. "

Exercising is not the only strenuous exercise that makes you sweat. In short, "being able to continue" is important.

Now that it's good to stay at home, yoga that you can feel free to do online is certainly good. I'm sorry to say that when I started online yoga in February 2020, the stress at home was greatly reduced. I also feel that my blood flow has improved. I think that even older people can do yoga without difficulty if it is not tight yoga. Mr. Abe further taught me the points to be aware of in daily life.

"It's better to take a bath at a temperature of 38-40 degrees Celsius, which is not so hot, rather than a shower. It's better to take a long time to enter. Stress is relieved, and by warming the body, blood flow is also improved. It encourages you, and getting enough sleep is also essential to boosting your immunity, but drinking alcohol to help you fall asleep is counterproductive, as alcohol can help you sleep lighter. "

If this is the case, it seems that it can be put into practice immediately.

And we, the drinkers, will be interested in meals (snacks). Teacher, is there anything I should eat for immunity?

"It is not advisable to eat just one food. It is a good idea to balance as many foods as possible that are rich in protein, sugars, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber. It may be hard to drink, but salty foods can lead to high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis, so try to keep it light. "

This "balanced" is very difficult, but the way you eat should change just by consciously keeping in mind. Sake snacks tend to be salty, but you can use low-salt soy sauce for soy sauce, or add soup stock and spices to the taste.

"Eating is the basis of the basics to maintain a healthy body with proper immune function. Immune cells are said to die 3-5% daily. Nutrition is required to make new cells. Necessary. Unfortunately, alcohol cannot supplement nutrition. Let's review our eating habits once again for immunity. "

Mr. Abe added, "However, to avoid obesity that causes lifestyle-related diseases, overeating is strictly prohibited." Smoking, which suppresses blood flow, should be moderated.

While taking a rest day, keep an appropriate amount of sake and eat a nutritionally balanced meal in the 8th minute of the stomach. Exercise moderately to relieve stress and sleep well. In summary, is it something like this?

If this is the case, it seems that it can be practiced without strain.

At the end, Mr. Abe said, "Think again about what makes you happy after drinking alcohol."

Isn't that the case with people who just drink alcohol to get drunk? Nowadays, it's difficult to share delicious meals with friends and drink while talking stupidly, but originally, sake is not for getting drunk, but for enjoying. With that in mind, it becomes "quality rather than quantity." Now that we are changing to a new lifestyle, it may be a good opportunity to change the way we drink for immunity.