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%.
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.
“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:
- Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that red wine has anti-aging properties. Study leader, David Sinclair, said “Resveratrol improves the health of mice on a high-fat diet and increases life span.”
- Scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, found that regular alcohol consumption raises breast cancer risk, with the exception of red wine. Moderate, regular red wine consumption lowers breast cancer risk.
- Moderate red wine consumption reduces the risk of developing dementia, researchers from Loyola University Medical Center reported. They emphasized that the consumption must be “moderate”, because too much red wine consumption has the opposite effect. Study leader, Edward J. Neafsey, said “We don’t recommend that nondrinkers start drinking. But moderate drinking, if it is truly moderate, can be beneficial.”
- Red wine may protect from severe sunburn, scientists from the University of Barcelona, Spain, revealed. They explained that red wine and grape derivatives have a compound that helps reduce the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.
- Red wine consumption may protect from some blinding diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. A substance in red wine prevents the formation of new blood vessels in the eye, called angiogenesis
- Red wine consumers may be protected from brain damage after a stroke, scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Team leader, Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., said “Our study adds to evidence that resveratrol can potentially build brain resistance to ischemic stroke.”
Written by Joseph Nordqvist