Washington: Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, a new study has claimed.
The study, conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, challenges the widely held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer.
Doctors have for long determined that alcohol increases the body’s estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.
For the study, 36 women were randomised to drink 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.
They sought to determine whether red wine mimics the effects of aromatase inhibitors, which play a key role in managing estrogen levels. Aromatase inhibitors 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.
Glenn D. Braunstein, co-author of the study, said the results do not mean that white wine increases the risk of breast cancer but that grapes used in those varieties may lack the same protective elements found in reds.
“There are chemicals in red grape skin and red grape seeds that are not found in white grapes that may decrease breast cancer risk,” Braunstein said.
However, the researchers of the new study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month.
Researchers called their findings encouraging, saying that women who occasionally drink alcohol might want to reassess their choices.
“If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red,” Chrisandra Shufelt, one of the study’s co-authors, said.
“Switching may shift your risk,” she added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Women’s Health.