Daily consumption of a relatively low amount of the red wine compound resveratrol could cut the rate of certain cancers by half, according to ‘groundbreaking’ new data.
The research – to be presented this morning at the Resveratrol 2012 conference in Leicerster, UK – will reveal that a daily dose of resveratrol equivalent to two glasses of wine can slash the rate of bowel tumours by 50%.
Led by Professor Karen Brown from the University of Leicester, the UK-based researchers have been investigating the potential cancer protective properties of resveratrol – a powerful polyphenol compound found in the skins of grapes, with the suggested health benefits of red wine have often said to be due to the compound.
“We want to see how resveratrol might work to prevent cancer in humans,” said Brown, speaking ahead of the presentation of the data.
“Having shown in our lab experiments that it can reduce tumour development we are now concentrating on identifying the mechanisms of how resveratrol works in human cells,” she said.
The resveratrol story
The suggested health benefits of red wine led to the coining of the phrase ‘the French Paradox' in 1992 by Dr Serge Renaud, from Bordeaux University, to describe the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French – despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.
The focus of the French Paradox has since shifted towards resveratrol, where the subject has been debated extensively, with research now suggesting the compound may have a multitude of health benefits including: reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.
Brown added that although the potential health benefits of resveratrol have been suggested for some time, it has not yet been proven that resveratrol can be effective in humans, while a lack of knowledge on the best dose to required for such effects means that the widespread use of resveratrol cannot safely be recommended at the moment.
“A lot of people take resveratrol as a supplement, but at the moment we don’t know how it works or on whom it can work until we have more information,” said Brown. “We don’t even know the best dose you should take.”
“With all the exciting new studies that are being done - especially the clinical trials - I hope we’ll have a clearer picture in the next few years.”
NutraIngredients will be reporting from the Resveratrol 2012 conference all week. Stand by for more updates on this study as the data is presented later this morning.