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02.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedHealth

The CLAIM A LITTLE ALCOHOL CAN HELP YOU BEAT a COLD

Article By: MBB

WHEN IT COMES TO QUICK REMEDIES for colds, many people insist that a glass of brandy or a hot toddy - whiskey with hot water and lemon juice - is just what the doctor ordered. It's not difficult to see how mild inebriation might have the potential to relieve cold and flu symptoms, but so far no study has shown that alcohol has the ability to kill germs in the bloodstream or stop a cold in its tracks. And while alcohol may provide temporary relief, it can prolong symptoms by increasing dehydration.

Nonetheless, two large studies have found that although moderate drinking will not cure colds, it can help keep them at bay. One, by researchers at Carnegie Mellon in 1993, looked at 391 adults and found that resistance to colds increased with moderate drinking, except in smokers.

Then, in 2OO2, researchers in Spain followed 43OO healthy adults, examining their habits and susceptibility to colds. The study, in The American Journal of Epidemiology, found no relationship between the incidence of colds and consumption of beer, spirits, Vitamin C, or zinc. But drinking 8 to 14 glasses of wine per week, particularly red wine, was linked to as much as a 6O percent reduction in the risk of developing a cold. The scientists suspected this had something to do with the antioxidant properties of wine.

The bottom line: alcohol will not help cure a cold, though moderate consumption may reduce susceptibility.

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