Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for development of breast cancer. But, on the other hand, studies have shown that aromatase inhibitors prevent the conversion of androgens into estrogens and thus, have a protective action against breast cancer. These aromatase inhibitors are present in grapes and red wine, though they are absent in white wine. Therefore, it was natural for scientists to study whether the consumption of red wine, by virtue of aromatase inhibitors present in it, exerts a protective action against breast cancer. And the study, published in the latest edition of the Journal of Women’s Health has confirmed what the scientists had hypothesized- consumption of red wine in moderation may indeed reduce the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
In a study, led by researchers from the Cedars- Sinai Medical Center, it was found that the seeds and skins of red grapes is effective in lowering estrogen levels while increasing the levels of testosterone in premenopausal women who consumed eight ounces of red wine every night for one month. The researchers asked 36 premenopausal women to drink 8 ounces of red wine daily for a month followed by white wine for a similar duration. Blood samples were collected twice during the menstrual cycle to measure the levels of different sex hormones. The levels of free testosterone were higher when the women were on red wine as to when they were on white wine. Similarly levels of luteinizing hormone were also higher with red wine while levels of sex hormone binding globulin were lower. The findings suggest that red wine is a nutritional aromatase inhibitor.
Based on these findings, the researchers have concluded that red wine consumption in moderate amounts can reduce the risk of breast cancer. The consumption of white wine, on the other hand, does not seem to offer this protective action, though one cannot conclude whether it increases the risk of breast cancer.