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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Red Wine Might Save Your Life

    There’s good news for red wine connoisseurs everywhere. According to new research, drinking more than three glasses of red wine a week reduces the risk of abnormal growth and cancers in the intestinal tract by two thirds, as compared to white wine drinkers and abstainers.

    Researchers at SBU, led by Dr. Joseph C. Anderson, an assistant professor of medicine at Stony Brook, discovered that a natural anti-fungal compound found in red wine, called resveratrol, offers beneficial effects to the body by inhibiting the growth of certain cancer calls and tumors by affecting one or more stages of cancer development.

    The resveratrol content of wine is related to the length of time the grape skins are present during the fermentation process, which allows for absorption. ‘The concentration is significantly higher in red wine than in white wine because the skins are removed earlier during the white-wine production, lessening the amount that is extracted,’ explained Anderson.

    In the study, researchers compared the drinking habits of 360 red and white wine drinkers with similar life styles to study the frequency of colorectal neoplasia (colorectal refers to cancers found in the colon and neoplasia is the abnormal, disorganized growth in a tissue or organ that may lead to tumors). Anderson’s study included 1,741 people including 245 red wine drinkers, 115 white wine drinkers, and 1,381 abstainers.

    The incidence of colorectal neoplasia was 9.9 percent in the abstainers, 8.8 percent in white wine drinker (3 or more glasses), and 3.4 percent in the red wine drinkers (3 or more glasses) indicating a 68 percent reduction for the red wine drinkers.

    Anderson’s research is the latest in a series of studies that have found a relation between red wine consumption and a reduced risk of various forms of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia, in animal and human studies.

    However, according to plant agriculture professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, Gopi Paliyath, ‘It may be a combined action, not only one particular component doing something,’ he said, referring to the other polyphenols, or antioxidants, also found in red wine that may inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.

    Despite its protective effects, Anderson advises people against taking red wine for this reason alone. When asked which patients he recommended for red wine consumption, he responded, ‘I don’t recommend drinking red wine unless you are drinking already (i.e. beer or vodka) and then you should stop drinking or switch to red wine. Wine, like other alcohol, is toxic, probably in doses higher than 1 glass per day, to the brain, heart and liver.’

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