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Red wine slashes lung cancer risk in smokers

October 7, 2008 |  2:30 pm

Wine1Drinking a glass or two of red wine each day may be a prescription for avoiding lung cancer, especially among high-risk people such as smokers.

A study from Kaiser Permanente researchers published today found a strong link between red wine consumption and a decreased risk of lung cancer in men. The researchers studied 84,170 men ages 45 to 69 who were part of the California Men's Health Study. They found lung cancer risk is lowered an average of 2% for each glass of red wine consumed per month. The greatest risk reduction was found among men who smoked and who drank one or two glasses of red wine per day. They had a whopping 60% reduced risk.

Red wine contains a chemical called resveratrol that is a powerful antioxidant and is associated with a variety of health benefits, both for heart health and for cancer prevention. Previous studies in lab animals suggest that resveratrol alters the activity of carcinogens in the body, inducing abnormal cells to die and retarding the growth of cancerous cells, says the lead author of the study, Chun Chao, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena. The study, published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, did not find any clear links between lung cancer and consumption of white wine, beer or liquor.

Chao cautions that the best way for smokers to lower the risk of developing lung cancer is to stop smoking. Even smokers who drink one or two glasses of red wine per day have a higher lung cancer risk than nonsmokers.

More research should be conducted before people start knocking back a glass or two of red wine each day just for the health of it, Chao says. "We need more studies on whether people should drink red wine to reduce lung cancer risk," she says. "If people want to drink red wine for cardiovascular benefits, they should talk to their doctor about that. But they shouldn't drink for lung cancer prevention."

The issue of drinking alcohol for health benefits is controversial because of the harm associated with heavy drinking and alcohol addiction. In general, most health professionals advise people not to start drinking if they don't already drink. The National Cancer Institute takes this position:

"Some studies suggest that alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of some risk of some non-cancer health conditions. However, it is not recommended that anyone begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of health considerations."

A thorough review of the risks and benefits of moderate drinking can be found at the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (4)

After reading the above article it becomes obvious we shouldn't drink wine for the resveratrol, we should drink wine cause god loves us and gave us wine, and if there's no god all the more reason to drink some wine.

Since the Dr. Sinclair study was published in Nature a flood of dubious companies have sprung up selling resveratrol. Many have no scientist, no labs, no quality control and no experience. Consumer Lab, an independent testing authority, evaluated the major brands and found many lacking in content and quality. The highest potency products that passed their evaluation were Biotivia, Transmax and Bioforte. A product by Life Extension Co. failed badly with only 26% of the claimed resveratrol. Another brand, Revatrol, had virtually no trans-resveratrol in its supplement. The ConsumerLab test results are available on their web site.

According to the NIH formula for converting from mice to humans the correct dose based upon the published studies is between 400mg and 4,000mg for a 70 kg man. The consensus seems to be that around 1,000mg is appropriate for a preventative dose and twice that to treat an existing condition.

Resveratrol can help you to lead a long and healthy life so says Dr. Oz.
Red wine alone does not supply enough resveratrol to achieve the
full range of benefits. You need to take high potency resveratrol
supplements to achieve the results documented in scientific studies.
Resveratrol Supplements can also help you control your weight naturally
by increasing energy, reducing cravings, and limiting your appetite.
According to Wikipedia, Consumer Lab, an independent dietary
supplement and over the counter products evaluation organization,
published a report on 13 November 2007 on the popular resveratrol
supplements. The organization reported that there exists a wide range
in quality, dose, and price among the 13 resveratrol products
evaluated. The actual amount of resveratrol contained in the
different brands range from 2.2mg for Revatrol, which claimed to have
400mg of "Red Wine Grape Complex", to 500mg for Transmax,
which is consistent with the amount claimed on the product's label.
Prices per 100mg of resveratrol ranged from less than $.30 for
products made by, jarrow, and country life, to a high of
$45.27 for the Revatrol brand.

Now we can go back to smoking. With the economy the way it is, I plan on drinking even more. It really sucks out there!


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