January 6, 2012
Many people love an occasional glass of wine.
"I'm not a big drinker, but when I do drink I have it," Nancy Zimmer said.
"I enjoy a nice glass of red wine," Taliesen Rose said.
For years, women have been told limiting alcohol could lower their risk of breast cancer. Now, new research shows drinking red wine in moderation may help lower a woman's chances of the disease. Researchers at Cedars Sinai
Medical Center looked at 36 younger women who drank eight ounces of cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay daily for almost a month, and then switched to the other other type of wine for a month. They saw a difference in the women who drank red.
"In red wine the hormone levels, the estrogen levels decreased while the testosterone levels increased," said Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, the study author. "And that may actually be a change for risk factors for breast cancer risk."
Shufelt says that's encouraging because the change in hormone patterns suggests red wine may prevent the growth of cancer cells.
These new findings challenge much of the current research on alcohol and breast cancer. One study late last year found women had a 15 percent increased risk of breast cancer if they drank three to six drinks a week.
"For taste, I actually prefer white wine," Zimmerman said.
Shufelt says they didn't see the same protective effects with white wine, but that doesn't mean white wine ups the cancer risk.
"Red wine has red grapes, the red seed and that's been found to have phytochemicals that would shift the estrogen levels to be lower... whereas white wine did not," Shufelt said.
More research is needed to confirm this small study. The study authors say just how safe and effective red wine is in reducing cancer risk remains to be seen.
PO Box 4508