Sun May 8, 2005
LONDON (AFP) - Single malt whisky can beat the threat of cancer, thanks to high levels of a powerful antioxidant that kills cancer cells, a medical conference in Scotland was told.
Jim Swan, an independent consultant to the global drinks industry, said that, according to research, single malt whisky contains "more ellagic acid than red wine".
Swan, a doctor, told the EuroMedLab 2005 conference explained that ellagic acid is an effective "free radical scavenger" that "absorbs" or "eats up" rogue cells that occur in the body during eating.
"The free radicals can break down the DNA structure of our existing cells, which then leads to the risk of the body making replacement rogue cancer cells," he said.
"So, whether you indulge in the odd tipple, or you are a serious connoisseur, whisky can protect you from cancer -- and science proves it."
Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK was dubious.
"There is considerable data documenting the link between drinking excess alcohol and the increased risk of a number of cancers, particularly in smokers," she said.
"Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant, but that does not mean it is necessary to hit the bottle," she said, noting that the ellagic acid can also be found in soft fruits.
The EuroMedLab 2005 conference in Glasgow, hosted by the Association of Clinical Biochemists, runs until Thursday, with more than 3,000 researchers, doctors and science and technology companies expected to attend.