Can wine protect against COVID-19?

key takeaways

  • Experts have questioned a recent study that showed that drinking red, white and champagne appeared to reduce COVID risk, while drinking beer and cider increased the risk.
  • The researchers did not consider whether study participants took any COVID protection measures, such as vaccinations or wearing masks.

A study published last month suggested that drinking wine may reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. Sound too good to be true? Yes, experts told VigorTip.

The study was published in Frontiers in NutritionPeople who drank more than twice the recommended amount of alcohol such as spirits, beer, and hard cider had a 7-28% higher risk of developing COVID-19, compared with non-drinkers, said the study.

On the other hand, researchers linked up to five glasses of red wine per week with a 10-17% lower risk of COVID-19, while the same amount of white wine and champagne was associated with a 7-8% lower risk.

The researchers did not identify the drinking guidelines they mentioned.

One possible explanation for their findings, the authors say, is that alcoholic beverages contain varying amounts of chemicals called polyphenols, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and possibly dampen viral effects. Red wine has the highest polyphenol content.

“Whenever I read positive messages about alcohol, I get really nervous,” Aaron Glatt, chair and professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai South Nassau Department of Medicine in Hewlett, New York, told VigorTip. Glatter was not associated with the study. “If we’re advising people to specifically increase their alcohol intake, you better have unassailable evidence, and that’s the benefit.”

Glatt, who is also a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, explained that the study was no airtight. For example, it did not say whether any of the roughly 474,000 participants practiced social distancing, wore masks or received the COVID-19 vaccine. These data were collected until July 2021, when a vaccine is available.

“I think you have to take these types of articles with a grain of salt,” Glatter said. While the researchers controlled for factors such as age, gender, education, body mass index, overall health and underlying medical conditions, they did not take into account other alcohol-related factors.

“Do [study participants] Going to a bar for a drink? Do they drink at home with their spouse? From a COVID perspective, one poses zero risk and one poses a potentially huge risk,” Glatter said. “I would say that if you drink alcohol, you are more likely to get Covid-19 than if you don’t, Because you’re going to do things you probably wouldn’t do when you’re drunk. ”

According to Glatter, the main conclusion is not that alcohol is good or bad. This is it has nothing to do with COVID-19 protection.

“The harms of alcohol are more worrisome than the benefits,” he said. “I’m not an abstainer, and I’m not saying don’t drink. I mean, if you have a scientific study, I’d be very careful about making any recommendations about the benefits of alcohol and preventing COVID.”

what does this mean to you

Despite headlines suggesting otherwise, wine may not offer protection against COVID-19.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.