A chemical found in red wine is now thought to help prevent cancer. Scientists from the University of Leicester have been studying the effects of a compound found in red grapes, called resveratrol, which has many potential health benefits for humans.

The latest research and findings will be presented at Resveratrol 2012, a conference at the university focused on presenting and discussing evidence of 10 clinical trials of resveratrol since the previous conference held in Denmark two years ago. It will reveal years of research about the compound’s effectiveness at preventing heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as giving recommendations for next year’s scientific research.

The benefits of reservatrol have been known for a while, however there has not been enough concrete evidence to support the claims, which is why its use is currently not recommended. A previous study on the compound suggests that resveratrol may lead to treatments for vascular and metabolic diseases.

Scientists from the university made lab models to identify any benefits of a daily amount of resveratrol in two glasses of wine, they found that the daily amount can reduce the rate of bowel tumors by around 50%.

Red Wine Glas
Red wine appears to have many health benefits, apart from protecting from several cancers

One of the organizers of the event, Professor Karen Brown, a member of the University’s Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group, said:

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

She added:

“At the University of Leicester, we want to see how resveratrol might work to prevent cancer in humans. 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 next step is to carry out a series of clinical trials to understand more about the substance and know what amount of resveratrol is the most effective in humans, if there are any medications that react with the compound, and who it can work for.

Professor Brown said “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. It has been shown that high doses of resveratrol may potentially interfere with other medication. 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.”

Below are some findings from studies around the world on the health benefits of red wine:

Written by Joseph Nordqvist