Red Wine Compound Reduces Cancer Risk
December 5, 2012

New Evidence That Red Wine Compound Curbs Cancer Risk

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

In a study that´s bound to be popular with red wine drinkers, British researchers from the University of Leicester have found that resveratrol, a chemical found in the popular beverage, could reduce the risk of cancer.

Using laboratory models, the scientists were able to suggest that a daily dose of resveratrol, equivalent to two glasses of red wine, can decrease the risk of bowel cancer by 50 percent. Based on these calculations, the researchers now plan to stage clinical trials to find the optimum dose for supplements of the red grape skin extract.

"A lot of people take resveratrol as a supplement, but at the moment we don't know how it works or on whom it can work until we have more information — we don't even know the best dose you should take,” said Karen Brown, a member of the University's Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group. “It has been shown that high doses of resveratrol may potentially interfere with other medication.”

"At the University of Leicester, we want to see how resveratrol might work to prevent cancer in humans,” she added. “Having shown in our lab experiments that it can reduce tumor development we are now concentrating on identifying the mechanisms of how resveratrol works in human cells."

The prospective health benefits of resveratrol have been acknowledged in the past, and the chemical even inspired an international conference in 2010.The researchers from Leicester revealed their findings this week at the sequel to that original conference: Resveratrol 2012.

"This is the second conference that brings together all the world experts in resveratrol,” said Brown, one of the conference organizers. “We have got a fantastic line up covering cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological diseases and life extension.”

The conference features new findings culled from the last two years of research and is expected to show the chemical´s impact on battling cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The findings will be presented in over 65 lectures, presentations and posters by different researchers from around the world. The gathering is also expected to prompt recommendations for the coming year's scientific research on resveratrol.

“With all the exciting new studies that are being done - especially the clinical trials - I hope we'll have a clearer picture in the next few years,” Brown said.

Resveratrol has a long history of being linked with cancer prevention. In 1997, researchers reported that mice that were given a known carcinogen resisted the development of skin cancer after topical applications of the chemical. Several other animal studies have shown similar results, including those involving gastrointestinal and mammary tumors.

Several other animal studies have touted the benefits of resveratrol as well. In 2006, Italian scientists found that supplements of the chemical extended the life of a typically short-lived fish by 56 percent. In 2008, Cornell University scientists found that resveratrol conveyed neuroprotective effects in animal brains. The chemical has also been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and testosterone-boosting effects in a host of other studies.

The results of these studies have given rise to the marketing of resveratrol supplements, which have not been proven effective by robust clinical trials.