This is Probably the Most Unlikely
Cancer-Preventing Health Food You’ve Ever Heard

July 9th, 2014 by Holly Cornish

Believe it or not, whiskey maybe actually be a good thing when it comes to preventing cancer. Weird story, but worth hearing. Read on. . .

Continued below…

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If you happen to be unfamiliar, whiskey is a popular alcoholic drink distilled from grains and consumed all over the world. Different varieties come in different flavors, with unique aromas and colors. The word “whiskey” itself stems from the Gaelic word “Uisge Beatha,” which happens to mean “water of life.”

But given what we all know about alcohol, the idea of whiskey actually helping to fight a disease like cancer is hard to believe – especially given the risks of addiction, severe liver damage and diabetes.

Also worth noting is that high liquor intake can actually cause certain kinds of cancer, including cancer of the esophagus, throat, mouth, breast, bowel, and liver. If you both drink and smoke, your risk of cancer increases significantly.

Nonetheless. . .

Whiskey also has formidable healing powers…

So where do the health benefits come from? As it turns out, single-malt whiskies are loaded with ellagic acid.

Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant. Most often found in fruits, ellagic acid is believed to absorb cancer cells. It does so by fighting the rogue atoms in your body that aid in the rapid cell growth of cancer.

Along with packing a punch of antioxidant power, whiskey has also been shown to have a chemo-protective effect. Research in cellular models showed whiskey may help reduce oxidation (creation of free radicals) in the body.

According to Dr. Jim Swan – a consultant to the whiskey industry – it’s the ellagic acid that reduces your cancer risk. When he spoke at the EuroMedLab 2005 conference in Glasgow, UK, Dr. Swan said the ellagic acid in whiskey breaks down harmful free radicals in your body. And whiskey boasts a greater concentration of ellagic acid than even red wine.

“So,” Dr. Swan reportedly told the conference attendees, “Whether you indulge in the odd tipple, or you are a serious connoisseur, whisky can protect you from cancer and science proves it.”

The question is, can whiskey raise your body’s antioxidant levels enough to significantly boost your defenses against disease? Touting whiskey as a defense against cancer just gives people an excuse to drink too much. At least, that’s what Dr. Lesley Walker of Cancer Research U.K. believes. Representatives of the organization criticize Dr. Swan’s work because they don’t believe the presence of ellagic acid in whiskey is a good enough reason to take up drinking as a way to boost your health.

Don’t second-guess the
two-faced nature of alcohol

Whiskey does have other known health benefits. A 1998 study found that a shot of whiskey can protect against heart disease (keep in mind, you reap this benefit only if you drink just once a week).

Along with that, a 2003 case study conducted with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found the odds of developing dementia were lower for those who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol. And whiskey may even lower your risk of stroke, as judicious drinking seems to be good for both your heart and circulatory system.

But take note: If you ingest large quantities of alcohol you’re more likely to have a stroke. Taken in moderation (meaning no more than one drink per day), it could help protect against ischemic stroke. And “may” or “could” mean exactly what they say. This benefit hasn’t been proven.

Given all that, it’s important to note that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. Like virtually every other force in nature, it’s effective and helpful in small doses… but turns deadly when you have too much.

And as to whether it’s safe to drink whiskey if you’re actively undergoing cancer chemotherapy, that’s a question that has to be answered within the framework of your specific cancer treatment and regimen of chemotherapy drugs and other medications.

Revolutionary development? Not quite. . .

I’m not suggesting you run out and load up on whiskey, though as investments go, a closed whiskey bottle stays good for a hundred years. A half-full bottle remains good for another five years after being opened.

What I just told you is an interesting story – a fun fact along the lines of “Wow, who knew that?” But it’s not a serious health recommendation. Daily consumption for health purposes? You’ve got to be kidding.

Ellagic acid, on the other hand, is DEFINITELY a serious health recommendation and you’d do well to get this nutrient into your life. Red raspberries are usually mentioned as the richest source, and you can buy red raspberry powder or capsules if eating the fruit daily is not practical. Walnuts, strawberries, cranberries and pomegranates are also said to be rich in ellagic acid.

Maybe it’s the fact that my digestion is delicate, and that I grew up in Kansas, a leader in the battle for Prohibition and still almost entirely dry, but I find it hard to look on daily drinking of alcohol as anything but a health danger. Like many things, it’s harmless fun once in a while but a hazard when done with any frequency. My parents were fond of a beer or a shot of Jim Beam once in a while and that was that. I’ve followed their example of moderate alcohol use.

If a significant link between whiskey and cancer prevention is proven, it would be revolutionary. Rest assured we’ll let you know as soon as such news comes out.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mark Twain: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Cute joke, but don’t believe it.

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Kindest regards,

Lee Euler, Publisher



 

References:

“22 Excellent Reasons To Drink More Whiskey.” By Erin La Rosa for BuzzFeed Food, 19 June 2013. http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/excellent-reasons-to-drink-more-whiskey
“Alcohol and Cancer Risk.” National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 29 June 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/alcohol
“Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits.” The Nutrition Source: Harvard School of Public Health, retrieved 28 June 2014. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/
“Health Benefits of Whiskey.” From Food to Fitness: retrieved 28 June 2014. http://foodtofitness.com/health-benefits-of-whiskey/
“It’s for medicinal purposes, honest…” By BBC Online Network News, 14 December 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/234957.stm
“Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia in older adults.” By Mukamal, K.J., et al. JAMA. 2003 Mar 19;289(11):1405-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12636463
“Whiskey: An Antidote For Cancer?” By Charlene J. Nuble for Health Guidance, retrieved 28 June 2014. http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/4590/1/Whiskey-An-Antidote-For-Cancer.html
“Whisky ‘helps fight cancer’” By Auslan Cramb, The Telegraph. 9 May 2005. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1489648/Whisky-helps-fight-cancer.html

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