Study: Red Wine Phenol Stops Breast Cancer Growth

Another reason to sip a good merlot

Photograph by John Foxx

I feel like every week I’m telling you about some new health outcome associated with alcohol consumption. Today’s is good news: New research suggests that an ingredient in red wine may help slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

The ingredient, of course, is resveratrol, the plant phenol that’s been shown to help with everything from heart disease to diabetes. In the new study, researchers treated breast cancer cells with doses of resveratrol and found that, compared with untreated cells, their growth was drastically reduced.

The mechanics of it are tricky, but it has to do with how the cells interplay with estrogen, a hormone that prompts cell proliferation when a woman menstruates or is pregnant. The resveratrol-treated cells, it seems, were able to block the estrogen and inhibit its cell-growing effect.

The discovery was made by a team of American and Italian scientists. Their findings were published in the October issue of the FASEB Journal.