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A Glass of Red Wine Daily May Cut Breast Cancer Risk: Study

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Not all wines are created equal when you consider what red wine can do for you that white wine cannot. Research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at Los Angeles shows that drinking as much as eight ounces (approximately 237 ml) of red wine every day could reduce your risk of getting breast cancer. (1)

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that develops in and affects the tissues of the breast, usually the ducts that carry milk to the nipple and glands that make milk.

It is estimated that in America, some 226, 870 new cases of female breast cancer will be reported in 2012. An estimation of 39,510 deaths has also been made for women for the year. (2)

Though it has been a widely-held belief among the medical fraternity that consumption of any type of alcohol raises the level of female hormone estrogen and this eventually pegs the risk of them developing breast cancer cells, the new study dispels the fear for red wine.

The study, which will be published in the April 2012 issue of Journal of Women's Health, clearly points out that there were chemicals which were found just beneath the skin of red grapes as well in its seeds that lowered the levels of estrogen in women, albeit only mildly.

Simultaneously, the chemical also mildly elevated the levels of another hormone, testosterone, in women. Study on consumption of the same quantity of white wine for the same period failed to show the estrogen-reduction benefits that can be had from drinking red wine.

This is especially important because those women who consume alcohol every day may want to revisit their choice of drink and make adjustments to include moderate amounts of red wine daily.

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

On the same note, co- author Glenn D. Braunstein, MD added that white wine does not mean that the chances of getting breast cancer increases, it only implies that the grapes used to make white wine may not possess the same protective elements as those found in red grapes. (3)

The research at Cedars-Sinai was conducted on 36 women who were randomized to drink either Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay daily for almost a month, then switched to the other type of wine. The hormone levels were assessed in the participants fortnightly.

Researchers were particularly on the lookout for aromatase-inhibitor like behaviour from red wine in terms of bringing down estrogen levels of participants. Aromatase inhibitors are currently the medication of choice to treat breast cancers.

However, Braunstein added a note of caution that large-scale studies involving more participants across states were needed to assess the safety of this finding, especially in the wake of recent studies that point that even moderate amount of alcohol intake may generally increase the risk of breast cancer in women.


1. Moderate Red Wine Drinking May Help Cut Women’s Breast Cancer Risk, Study Suggests; Science News daily; January 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120106105925.htm

2. Breast Cancer; National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health); January 2012

3. Moderate Red Wine Drinking May Help Cut Women's Breast Cancer Risk, Cedars-Sinai Study Shows; Cedars-Sinai-News; January 2012

A technical report of the study may be found on the following link:

1. Red Versus White Wine as a Nutritional Aromatase Inhibitor in Premenopausal Women; Mary Ann Liebert Inc - Journal Of Women's Health; January 2012


Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1) and the upcoming Women’s Complete Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House India).

She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health.

Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com

Reviewed February 14, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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