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Wine and Cancer

"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."

Benjamin Franklin

 

National Cancer Insitute

  • Research on the antioxidants found in red wine has shown that they may help inhibit the development of certain cancers
  • Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development. It has been shown to inhibit growth of many types of cancer cells in culture.
  • Recent evidence from animal studies suggests this anti-inflammatory compound may be an effective chemopreventive agent in three stages of the cancer process: Initiation, promotion, and progression

 

Red wine is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants. Particular compounds called polyphenols found in red wine—such as catechins and resveratrol—are thought to have antioxidant or anticancer properties.

  1. What are polyphenols and how do they prevent cancer?
  1. Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in the skin and seeds of grapes. When wine is made from these grapes, the alcohol produced by the fermentation process dissolves the polyphenols contained in the skin and seeds. Red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine because the making of white wine requires the removal of the skins after the grapes are crushed. The phenols in red wine include catechin, gallic acid, and epicatechin.

    Polyphenols have been found to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by molecules called free radicals . These chemicals can damage important parts of cells, including proteins , membranes , and DNA . Cellular damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in the development of cancer. Research on the antioxidants found in red wine has shown that they may help inhibit the development of certain cancers.

  2. What is resveratrol and how does it prevent cancer?

    Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol called a phytoalexin, a class of compounds produced as part of a plant's defense system against disease. It is produced in the plant in response to an invading fungus , stress , injury, infection , or ultraviolet irradiation. Red wine contains high levels of resveratrol, as do grapes, raspberries, peanuts, and other plants.

    Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development. It has been shown to inhibit growth of many types of cancer cells in culture. Evidence also exists that it can reduce inflammation . It also reduces activation of NF kappa B, a protein produced by the body's immune system when it is under attack. This protein affects cancer cell growth and metastasis . Resveratrol is also an antioxidant.

  3. What have red wine studies found?

    The cell and animal studies of red wine have examined effects in several cancers, including leukemia , skin , breast , and prostate cancers. Scientists are studying resveratrol to learn more about its cancer preventive activities. Recent evidence from animal studies suggests this anti-inflammatory compound may be an effective chemopreventive agent in three stages of the cancer process: Initiation, promotion, and progression.

    Research studies published in the International Journal of Cancer show that drinking a glass of red wine a day may cut a man's risk of prostate cancer in half and that the protective effect appears to be strongest against the most aggressive forms of the disease. It was also seen that men who consumed four or more 4- ounce glasses of red wine per week have a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer.

    However, studies of the association between red wine consumption and cancer in humans are in their initial stages. Although consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages may increase the risk of some cancers, there is growing evidence that the health benefits of red wine are related to its nonalcoholic components.

 

Red wine may inhibit breast cancer: US study

  • Monday 9 January 2012
  • by Adam Lechmere -Decanter.com

Red wine may have some effect in inhibiting the hormone that causes breast cancer, a study has found.

The study at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered oestrogen levels among premenopausal women.

The same effect was not seen in white wine.

The study, published online in the Journal of Women's Health , challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer.

Alcohol is known to increase levels of oestrogen, which fosters the growth of cancer cells.

However, the research at Cedars-Sinai suggests red wine acts differently, appearing to block the process that converts hormones such as testosterone - which is present in women's bodies - into oestrogen.

In the study, 36 women drank either Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay daily for almost a month, then switched to the other type of wine. Blood was collected twice each month to measure hormone levels.

Researchers were trying to determine whether red wine mimics the effects of aromatase inhibitors, which play a key role in managing oestrogen levels and are currently used to treat breast cancer.

Investigators said the change in hormone patterns suggested that red wine may stem the growth of cancer cells, as has been shown in test tube studies.

They stressed that the results do not mean that white wine increases the risk of breast cancer, but that white grapes may lack the same protective elements found in the grapes used in red wines.

At the same time they said findings were encouraging, and that changing to red wine might ‘shift the risk' of getting breast cancer.

‘If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red,' said Chrisandra Shufelt, assistant director of the Women's Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and one of the study's co-authors. ‘Switching may shift your risk.'

Glenn D Braunstein, vice president for clinical innovation at Cedars-Sinai said, ‘There are chemicals in red grape skin and red grape seeds that are not found in white grapes that may decrease breast cancer risk,' but he also advised that large-scale studies are still needed.

Even moderate amounts of alcohol intake may generally increase the risk of breast cancer in women, he said, and until larger studies are done, he would not recommend that a non-drinker begin to drink red wine

Heart Health

Wine and Your Health

 

Clearly, the pleasures wines afford are transitory - but so are those of the ballet, or of a musical performance.
Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living." - Napolean

 

Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary.
~
Babylonian Talmud: Baba Bathra

 

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