Red Wine May Decrease Chance of Getting Breast Cancer

by on October 7th, 2014
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There have been several articles written that indicate drinking alcohol can increase a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer. Red wine may be the exception to that rule. A study to be published in the Journal of Women’s Health has found that chemicals in the skins of the seeds of red grapes were able lower estrogen levels, while increasing testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine each night for a month.

For the study researchers asked 36 women to drink a variety of red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, every day for around a month. They were then asked to switch to drinking white wine for a month. Participants were instructed to not drink any other alcoholic beverage or grape products during the study period. Their blood was collected twice a month and their hormone levels were checked.

Aromatase inhibitors (AI) play a pivotal role in the management and treatment of breast cancer in women. Naturally occurring AIs have been identified in grapes, grape juice, grape seed extract, and red wine, but not white wine. The AI activity in red wine has been attributed to the phytochemicals and its alcohol content. Other chemicals in wine have not been clearly established as having significant amounts of AI.

Researchers also conducted a randomized cross-over study. They tested whether red wine is a nutritional AI for healthy premenopausal women. The results showed that red wine may actually be a nutritional AI.

According to the study wine consumption has increased, especially among young women. The results provide evidence that red wine may not elevate breast cancer risk like other alcoholic drinks. It recommends that further work needs to be done to determine the relative safety and desirability of red and white wine consumption for women.

In a January 6, 2012 story from UPI, Study co-author Dr. Glenn D. Braunstein is quoted as saying “The results do not mean white wine increases the risk of breast cancer, but grapes used in those varieties may lack the same protective elements found in reds.”


UPI Story


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