Does drinking red wine really prevent prostate cancer?
A recent report which says that drinking red wine prevents prostate cancer has made waves in the national press, but how much truth is in the claim?
Red wine has been linked to dozens of health benefits over the years, from fighting tooth decay to preventing diabetes, but a new study has made a claim that vino tinto might protect against prostate cancer.
The study, which was picked up by the Mailonline, Mirror and Sun, suggested that drinking one glass of red wine per day “could protect men against prostate cancer,” while switching to white would increase the risk.
Published in the journal Clinical Epidemiology, the researchers argued that the difference lies in the levels of resveratrol; a chemical found in the skin of red grapes released during the winemaking process.
The findings were part of a meta-analysis of 17 separate studies on the links between moderate wine consumption and prostate cancer, encompassing around 611,169 men worldwide.
The scientists claimed that people who drank a moderate amount of red wine were 12% less likely to develop the disease, but interestingly, “moderate consumption of white wine increased the risk of prostate cancer.”
However, this is a slight oversimplification of the study’s results. Mihai Dorin Vartolomei, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Tirgu Mures in Romania said that overall, moderate wine consumption “did not impact the risk of prostate cancer.”
Between 15% and 20% of men are affected by prostate cancer at some time in their lives.
While there was some discrepancy in the affects of red wine and white wine on men within the meta-study, the authors said that, overall, drinking a glass of wine per day had no notable effect on the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those who did not imbibe the same amount.
“According to this meta-analysis moderate wine consumption is not a risk factor for PCa development.”
The reason the meta-analysis linked red wine to prevention is because of the results of just one study within the 17 analysed. When this was removed, no discernible link was found.
In addition to this, the authors pointed out that they couldn’t accurately measure the affect of different kinds of wine per dosage, because the studies they analysed were restricted to one glass per day.
“Further analyses are needed to assess the differential molecular effect of white and red wine conferring their impact on prostate cancer risk.”