View Full Version : Bourbon & health

11-29-2007, 04:00
Since I started enjoying distilled spirits, I've been aware of the claims that people in the Gascony region in France where armagnac (a wine distillate) is made, have 50% lower heart disease than the French average.

This has been attributed to the regular and moderate consumption of the local brandy.

It seems that there have been a few theories about why a moderate level of alcohol consumption can be beneficial to cardiac health - ranging from polyphenols from grapes to the actual alcohol itself.

Whilst looking into this further, and being curious about where bourbon and other whiskys might stand in light of this research, I found this article (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,17625654-12332,00.html) which attributes the health effects of brandy to the copper in the stills.

The article also concludes that:

He said a recent investigation by the same team at Monash had shown whisky to offer the same health benefits.

"We have found that shots of whisky and brandy are very similar in terms of their antioxidant potential," he said.

This is an area of great interest to me. I love brandy (cognac, armagnac and calvados) but also enjoy bourbon and would like to think that my daily tipple of whisky might actually be good for me.

Does any else have any information on where bourbon might stand in terms of actual health benefits from moderate consumption thereof?

Is it the alcohol, the copper 'signal' from the still or something exclusively found in grape-based drinks? Does all modern bourbon come into contact with copper in distillation?

11-29-2007, 06:15
The only thing that I can think of is that it help thin the blood. Just like taking an aspirin everyday can help prevent heart attacks, same with a lowball of WT.

As far as the copper, yes all of it contacts copper. In fact, all distilled spirits come in contact with copper, unless they are industrial.

11-29-2007, 17:56
The whole alcohol and health issue is a series of trade offs....some benefit for cardiovascular vs some increase in cancer....pick your poison...all things in moderation. Women seem more susceptible to the cancer risks though men are affected as well. Alcohol use of all kinds has a J shaped mortality curve for all cause deaths....mild regular users have the lowest whereas abstainers have slightly higher mortatlity and heavy users have increasing correlated to quantity and duration.

> Just a little info I picked up for a paper....I am a life underwriter by occupation.

11-30-2007, 20:25
I came across this article last week. http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html
According to this and other things I've read, about 3oz of 100 proof spirits is about right. But I'm no expert.

11-30-2007, 20:57
i'll be back. this is a thread i wanted to have floating about...crucial in many ways. gotta balance an aesthetic palate (that loves fire and water et uisce y viva!) with the realities of a down-in-the-basement-blue-collar-loyal-liver doin' it's job. it says moderate it, mate...and please, make it worth the pain....

Hedmans Brorsa
12-02-2007, 04:01
Similar reports in Sweden usually fly the flag for red wine. Digging a little behind the surface, I have found that whiskey can be just as beneficial as long as you keep your consumption on a moderate level.

At least over here with our policy towards drinking (all state-controlled liquor stores, remember), authorities may not be so keen to advertise hard liquor as health beneficial, instead opting for the supposedly more innocuos red wine. Just a theory.

12-02-2007, 11:35
Anyway, it's good to know there's an argument that bourbon which we all enjoy sipping is also somewhat good for our pulse.

12-03-2007, 12:29
Good site....and from the same site this companion article on the alcohol - cancer risk for perspective:


The combo of tobacco and alcohol...not surprising...causes the greatest "risk".

01-09-2008, 21:55
Here is the latest story:


Drink to This: Moderate Alcohol Use, Exercise Keys to Longevity, Study Finds
Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"“Our study shows that being both physically active and drinking a moderate amount of alcohol is important for lowering the risk of both fatal IHD and death from all causes," said Professor Morten Gronbaek, director of research of the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen"

"For both men and women, being physically active was associated with a significantly lower risk for both fatal IHD and all-cause mortality than being physically inactive; and drinking alcohol was associated with a lower risk of fatal IHD than abstaining. A weekly moderate alcohol intake reduced the risk of all-cause mortality among both men and women, whereas the risk among heavy drinkers was similar to non-drinkers,"

“The lowest risk of death from all causes was observed among the physically active moderate drinkers and the highest risk among the physically inactive non-drinkers and heavy drinkers,"

“Neither physical activity alone nor alcohol intake can completely reverse the increased risk associated with alcohol abstention and lack of physical activity. Thus, both moderate to high levels of physical activity and a moderate alcohol intake are important for lowering the risk of fatal IHD and deaths from all causes,"

01-10-2008, 09:30
I guess tilting my elbow, with a glass in my hand, doesn't qualify as "physically active" does it?

01-10-2008, 16:47
Oh yes it does Ed if you do it with 1.75L bottles in each arm it a curl and is very good for the upper arm. If you isolate while bringing it back down to the table you can hit the tricept as well :slappin: ! Gotta love those big bottles!!


01-10-2008, 16:56
I guess tilting my elbow, with a glass in my hand, doesn't qualify as "physically active" does it?

Now, Ed! I know you are anything but inactive, regardless of employment status. After all, you support (or substantiate, depending on point of view), The Patty [whom I, as she knows (and, if she doesn't -- you will assure, Ed!:lol:) I adore!] on a daily basis. Labors of love are nonetheless labors, Ed. You're in shape for life!

01-11-2008, 15:43

Bourbon's health benefits were the reason I took up drinking at age 43 last Summer! I've read too much about it's health benefits when consumed daily in moderation. I take 2 oz. every night in my Diet Coke as a "liquid sleeping pill". It works wonderfully in that role. On the odd Saturday evening, I may throw in 3 oz.


PS: I'm beginning to appreciate JBB's flavor profile now. The char comes shining through my Diet Coke, along with some corn flakes and a hint of Caramel. YMMV.

01-14-2008, 13:25
The sleep inducing benefits of spirits became apparent to me when I worked in a hospital with a nursing home. Several residents received 30ccs of their preferred medication at bedtime.

01-18-2008, 14:59
Reasons for moderate use:

#1 as an antiseptic mouthwash
#2 Blood thinner
#3 Sleep aid
#4 Relaxant agent
#5 Religious celebratory ritual

Reasons against: I can't think of any.