Drinking red wine may reduce breast cancer risk

Red wine could potentially lower risk of breast cancer, according to researchers at Cedars Sinai.
Red wine could potentially lower risk of breast cancer, according to researchers at Cedars Sinai. John Rabe/KPCC

Los Angeles researchers have found that drinking a moderate amount of red wine may reduce breast cancer, a leading cause of death for women.

Already thought by some to protect your heart and add years to your life, red wine now has another potential health benefit: preventing breast cancer.

The study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels and elevated testosterone levels among pre-menopausal women who drank eight ounces (about one cup) of red wine nightly for a month.

The findings run counter to a study released last November by Harvard University that claimed all alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer by raising estrogen levels, which then promote the growth of cancer cells.

Researchers studied 36 women who drank either red or white wine for a month. At the end of the 30 days, the women switched wines for another test period. Blood tests that measured hormone levels indicated that white wine didn’t show the same beneficial effects as red wine.

The study will be published in the April edition of the Journal of Women's Health.

But, like the possibility of it being heart-healthy or life-extending, red wine's potential benefits are still in the "maybe" category. Researchers say large-scale studies are still needed before they can definitively determine whether red wine lowers the risk of breast cancer.

With contributions by Paige Osburn

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