Red wine may protect against lung cancer

November 4, 2004 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Red wine may protect against lung cancer

New research suggests that regular consumption of red wine, but not white wine, may lower the risk of lung cancer.

Researchers in Spain found that among some 300 adults with and without lung cancer, self-described red-wine drinkers had a 57 percent lower risk of the disease compared with those who never drank wine. Overall, lung cancer risk declined 13 percent with each daily glass of red wine.

The reason for the link is unclear, but the study authors point to some of the natural compounds in red wine and grapes usually cited as the potential source of the drink's health benefits. One of these is resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes that lab experiments suggest can interfere with tumor development and growth.

But other red wine components, such as plant antioxidants called polyphenols, may also play a role.

The researchers stress that their findings should not be taken as a license to drink away lung cancer risk, as excessive drinking has many well-known ill effects. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke, and for smokers to stop immediately.

Regular, moderate red wine consumption has long been suspected as a key reason the French enjoy a low rate of heart disease despite a rich diet. But recent research has also linked red wine to a lower risk of some cancers, and a study reported last year found that resveratrol might offer protection from the lung diseases emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Compared with white wine, the red variety has greater concentrations of resveratrol and certain antioxidants. Further lab work is needed to test the findings and to determine which red wine components might bestow any lung-cancer benefits.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.