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article imageOp-Ed: New red wine cancer fighting link

By Tim Sandle     Dec 7, 2014 in Health
Every so often a red wine and cancer research item emerges. These center on the chemical resveratrol, which is found in grape skins. A new article looks at the mechanisms at play. However, it could well be another false dawn.
The new insight has been provided by Robert Sclafani, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the CU School of Medicine. Dr. Sclafani argues that although causes some damage to cells, and is a factor in some head and neck cancer, resveratrol kills the cells affected, targeting those cells with unrepaired DNA damage so that they cannot go on to cause cancer. Simply put, alcohol may damage cells but resveratrol kills damaged cells.
Resveratrol (or to give it the full chemical name: 3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) is a a type of natural phenol produced naturally by several plants in response to injury or when the plant is under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Foods rich in resveratrol include the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries.
The new research argues that resveratrol in red wine (and other chemopreventive chemicals found in grape seed extract) may not be a cancer cure, but by killing the most dangerous cells the chemical may decrease the probability that alcohol use will cause cancer. Data reviews show that with trends head and neck cancer alcohol is a factor. However, by alcohol source, the lowest cancer incidence is in people who drank red wine. The thing is, the risk may not emerge at all if any alcohol is not drank excessively in the first place.
The research has been published in the journal Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. The paper is titled "A Perspective on Chemoprevention by Resveratrol in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma."
It should be noted that evidence of an effect of resveratrol on cancer in humans remains inconsistent and there are competing studies which reach very different conclusions. It seems that the health benefits of resveratrol on humans are unproven. In mouse and rat experiments, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar-lowering and other beneficial cardiovascular effects of resveratrol have been reported. Most of these results have yet to be replicated in humans
Still, if you want another reason to enjoy a glass of red wine? Try this: a new study has found that red wine could potentially help prevent dental cavities.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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