Who May Alcohol Save and Who May It Kill?

By Dr. Rick Morris

Thirty years ago, the U.S. government forbid the Framingham Study on alcohol from being published. This major investigation followed thousands of people for 25 years and revealed that those who drank one to two “drinks” per day outlived and had less heart disease then those who completely abstained.

Fearing the publication of these findings would lead to nationwide alcoholism, the government suppressed the study. But over the last 20 years the subsequent research was overwhelming and consistent, and showed four important benefits to one or two “drinks” per day:

  1. Raises the good cholesterol (HDL) even better then the statin drugs (such as Lipitor and Navicor) or running a few miles a day.
  2. Makes the blood move more freely, preventing clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  3. Probably prevents Alzheimer’s Disease by preventing “ministrokes” (TIA’s) which occur as we age.
  4. Decreases the chance of getting type II diabetes and probably helps if you already have the disease by increasing the sensitivity of insulin.

“The science supporting the protective role of alcohol is indisputable; no one questions it any more,” says Dr. Curtis Ellison, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University School of Medicine. The initial doubts have been shot down. In fact, two drinks per day were more effective at preventing heart attacks than lowering your total cholesterol by 30 points or reducing your systolic blood pressure by 20 mm Hg.

Which form of alcohol is best is not agreed upon. Dr. Eric Rimm an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health believes “alcohol is beneficial in all three beverages” (wine, beer and hard liquor). The antioxidants that come in a glass of red wine are certainly beneficial, equaling 7 glasses of orange juice or 20 glasses of apple juice. But some white wines and dark beers have the same antioxidant effect.

Once one-two drinks becomes three or more, the risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, cancer, diabetes, liver failure and dementia increases abruptly. The World Health Organization estimates that alcohol abuse kills as many people as measles, malaria, tobacco and illegal drugs.

So alcohol is definitely not for everyone:

  1. It hasn’t shown value in men under 40 and women under 50.
  2. Pregnant women, people with liver disease and those with a family history of alcoholism are advised never to drink.
  3. Teenagers and young adults who drink three or more drinks per day have a death rate twice that of non-drinkers.

Of course there will never be a “final word” on anything. Our knowledge keeps growing and our views will change. Feel free to discuss this information with me and see how it fits into your life.

Alcohol should never be consumed with pain medication or many other types of pharmaceuticals. Always avoid medication whenever possible by using natural treatments first. Feel free to discuss alternative treatments with us. You can reach us at 310-451-5851. Thank you for being part of our family and have a great new year.



Rick H. Morris, D.C., C.C.S.P., Q.M.E., A.B.A.A.H.P.
Brendan M. Murray, D.C., D.A.C.B.S.P., Q.M.E.
April Hopson, D.C.

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