Red wine reduces colon cancer risk by two thirds

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by Kristina Collins, The Cancer Blog, 23 Oct 2006

Red wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of various forms of cancer--leukemia, breast and prostate, in animal studies and in real life. A new study found that drinking more than three glasses of red wine a week reduced the incidence of abnormal growths and cancers of the intestinal tract by two-thirds.

Red wine has something that white wine does not have. A compound found under the skin of the grape called resveratrol. Resveratrol content is higher in red wine than white wine because the grape skins are removed early in the fermentation process for white wines. Resveratrol interferes with all three stages of cancer formation--initiation, promotion and progression.

Dr. Joseph C. Anderson, an assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, says "I generally advise against drinking, but if your going to drink, drink red wine". Anderson's study included 1,741 people. The incidence of colorectal neoplasia, cancers and polyps that can become cancerous, was 9.9 percent in those that abstained from alcohol, 8.8 percent in those who drank three glasses or more of white wine a week and 3.4 percent in those that drank three glasses of red wine a week, a 68 percent reduction.

Whatever the cause of the protective effect, Anderson said he advises people against taking up the wine habit for health reasons.

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