Drinking Alcohol Reduces Heart Attack Damage

Drinking alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) in moderation not only reduces the risk of heart attack but also reduces the damage to effected tissue following a heart attack. This is the finding of research conducted by Dr. Ron Korthuis, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Missouri- Columbia.

When a heart attack occurs, blood flow is reduced to several areas of the body. When the blood flow is restored, white blood cells stick to the walls of the arteries and release toxins into the damaged tissues, which causes additional cell death and more damage. However, alcohol triggers a chemical reaction in the body that makes the artery walls slick and stops the white blood cells from attaching to the damaged tissue. In subjects treated with alcohol, the tissue effected by the low blood flow was found to be much healthier and stronger than in those without alcohol.


  • University of Missouri-Columbia. Alcohol Helps Reduce Damage after Heart Attack. University of Missouri-Columbia press release, August 30, 2004. Dr. Korthuis’ research will be published this fall in Microcirculation.

Filed Under: Heart