Maybe you shouldn't feel too guilty about having a few drinks during the holiday season.

A Southern California researcher says the magic pill for preventing the common cold might just be “moderate drinking.”

The research released this week found that moderate imbibers could be boosting their immunity to colds and flu.

Ilhem Messaoudi, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at UC Riverside, was the lead author in the study that was published this week in the journal Vaccine.

His team used primates as subjects, injecting them with vaccine and letting half of them drink as they wished for 14 months, according to a summary. Those in the drinking group that consumed a lot of hooch weakened their immune systems, the prof says.

But those determined by researchers to be moderate drinkers actually did better than the non-drinkers when it came to “enhanced responses to the vaccine,” according to the summary:

Moderate drinking bolstered their bodies' immune systems.

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/LA Weekly

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/LA Weekly

But, remember folks, this doesn't mean doing a row of tequila shots or seven Long Islands. Messaoudi:

If you have a family history of alcohol abuse, or are at risk, or have been an abuser in the past, we are not recommending you go out and drink to improve your immune system. But for the average person who has, say, a glass of wine with dinner, it does seem in general to improve health and cardiovascular function. And now we can add the immune system to that list.

How does it work? They're not sure. Messaoudi says figuring that out is on his wish list of possible upcoming research projects.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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