Does Red Wine Help With MS? Multiple Sclerosis

Medically Reviewed on 3/16/2022
Does Red Wine Help With MS
Scientists do not fully understand how red wine affects multiple sclerosis (MS). Learn about the potential benefits and risks of drinking wine with MS

Scientists do not fully understand how red wine affects multiple sclerosis (MS). Although alcoholic beverages like red wine may be able to help calm an overactive immune system, they may also worsen some MS symptoms.

What are the potential benefits of drinking red wine with MS?

According to some studies, alcoholic beverages such as red wine may have an immunomodulatory effect, meaning that it alters the immune response in the body in a way that may benefit people with certain autoimmune diseases such as lupus and MS. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this claim. 

Red wine is hailed for its health benefits because it contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can protect the body against various diseases. One polyphenol in red wine is called resveratrol. Studies have reported that resveratrol may promote heart, brain, and nerve health, meaning it may be beneficial for MS as well.

Studies report that alcohol consumption may reduce the negative effects that smoking has on MS, although how this occurs is not well understood. 

Health experts suggest that consuming alcohol in moderation is OK if you have MS. Always consult your physician before you make any changes in your MS treatment—whether herbal supplements or lifestyle modifications.

What are the potential risks of drinking red wine with MS?

Alcohol may aggravate some MS symptoms such as balance issues, increased urine frequency, memory disturbances, and confusion. Alcohol can also interact with your MS medications and cause adverse effects. Ask your doctor whether you can have alcohol while on your medications. 

Alcohol may also increase your risk of certain types of cancer, high cholesterol, and weight gain. These risks are particularly high with excessive alcohol consumption. 

While red wine is high in antioxidants, it is better to eat an antioxidant-rich diet that consists of red or purple grapes, oranges, berries, leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, and nuts.

How much alcohol can you have with MS?

There is no need to start drinking red wine for its purported benefits, as many studies have shown that no alcohol is better for overall health. If you do decide to have some alcohol, consume it in moderation.

Moderate alcohol consumption equates to one drink a day for women and two for men. One drink means:

  • 12 oz (355 mL) of beer
  • 5 oz (148 mL) of wine
  • 1.5 oz (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits

What drinks are good for MS?

Since MS can increase urination frequency and thus raise the risk of dehydration, you will need to stay hydrated to prevent muscle cramps and urinary tract infections

Although no particular beverage or food has been proven to treat or stop MS progression, the following fluids may help promote your overall health without aggravating MS symptoms:

  • Water: As a general rule, you should drink 2-3 liters or 8-10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. However, since requirements may vary depending on your lifestyle and how much you sweat during the day, drink as much as you need to quench your thirst and maybe more if you notice signs of dehydration such as dark urine or dry mouth
  • Green tea: Green tea is not only rich in antioxidants but also has a calming effect on the mind. Since certain herbal teas can interact with your medications, talk to your doctor before consuming them
  • Ginger tea: Ginger is loaded with antioxidants. You can have freshly ground ginger or ginger tea, which can help promote digestion and improve appetite.
  • Broths and soups: Vegetable or chicken broths are a great and easy way to meet your fluid requirements. They also provide your body with electrolytes and vitamins.
  • Fruit juices: Freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, or pomegranate juice is a great way to hydrate as long as you don’t add extra sugar.

Avoid caffeinated beverages since these can irritate your bladder and further increase your trips to the bathroom.


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Medically Reviewed on 3/16/2022
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