Consumption of wine was inversely associated with the risk of common cold

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Does drinking alcohol protect against the common cold?

To examine whether intakes of wine, beer, spirits, and total alcohol are associated with the risk of common cold, in 1998–1999 the authors analyzed data from a cohort study carried out in a population of 4,272 faculty and staff of five Spanish universities.

Usual alcohol intake was assessed at baseline by means of a standardized frequency questionnaire that was validated in a random sample of the population. The authors detected 1,353 cases of common cold.

Total alcohol intake and beer and spirits consumption were not related to the occurrence of common cold, whereas consumption of wine was inversely associated with the risk of common cold. When drinkers of >14 glasses of wine per week were compared with teetotalers, the relative risk was 0.6 (95% confidence interval: 0.4, 0.8) after adjustment for age, sex, and faculty/staff status. The association was stronger for red wine.

These results remained unaltered after adjustment for total alcohol intake and for other potential risk factors for common cold. Findings suggest that wine intake, especially red wine, may have a protective effect against common cold. Beer, spirits, and total alcohol intakes do not seem to affect the incidence of common cold.


  1. Kirk says:

    OK, yet again we see statistical BS sifted out of survey BS.

    What they actually mean here is that survey respondents reported data that makes it seem as though there is a correlation between wine consumption and resistance/exposure to cold viruses. We don’t know for a fact that those self-reported wine drinkers actually drank any wine, any more than we know that they were exposed to similar contagion vectors for the colds in question.

    This is a really badly constructed study that actually tells you precisely jack and s**t about whether or not wine helps with your resistance. You would have to have carefully constructed your test participation pool, ensured that they all actually consumed like amounts of alcoholic beverages, and then were a.) in generally similar good immunological health, and b.) were exposed to the same precise vectors of the same rhinoviruses.

    None of that was done, so far as I can tell, so this is more statistical flummery thrown up as “news” by the academics, and then reported by the scientifically illiterate news media.

    Anything to be learned from this crap is lost in the noise coming from a poorly constructed test methodology, and sheer stupidity.

  2. Graham says:

    Yes, unless there is a LOT more than meets the eye, this seems like a particularly stupid example of the type.

    Meta analysis is one thing. Though Kirk identified some of the basic problems with it when presented as a primary scientific endeavour, there’s room for scholarship as well as science in the pure theoretical and experimental senses.

    But this sounds like garbage in, garbage out. I need some wine.

  3. Adar says:

    A glass of wine given to a patient who just has come out of anesthetic after a surgery for open heart procedure can sooth and calm marvelously so if the patient used to drinking wine on a regular basis.

  4. Sam J. says:

    Maybe the wine group are snobs and don’t go out much with the louts to get the flu in the first place.

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