wine“A glass of wine every day is good for your health!”

By now, we’ve all seen the headlines touting the benefits of red wine. From reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers to improving brain function, the compounds found in red wine are nothing short of amazing.


Now, new research is revealing that resveratrol, a primary compound in red wine, has significant benefits when it comes to radiation treatment for cancer. In short, resveratrol can help improve the effectiveness of radiation by up to 20 percent, in addition to limiting some of the skin irritation that can occur with the treatment.

Making Radiation More Effective:

In October 2013, researchers at the University of Missouri announced the results of a study of the effects of resveratrol on melanoma cancer cells. When cancer cells were treated with resveratrol before radiation, 65 percent of the tumor cells were killed. When the cells weren’t treated before radiation, only 44 percent died.
This research supports previous research on the effects of resveratrol on prostate cancer cells. The same researchers in Missouri tested the effects of resveratrol on prostate cancer cells and found when they were treated with the compound first they were far more likely to be susceptible to radiation treatment: 97 percent of the cancer cells were killed when treated by resveratrol, a much higher rate than with radiation alone.

A Problem with the Solution:

While the results of these studies would seem to indicate that resveratrol should be part of any cancer treatment regimen, gaining the benefits of the compound is not as simple as just drinking a glass of wine before heading in for radiation therapy. In fact, the University of Missouri researchers note that the difficulty in delivering adequate amounts of resveratrol to tumor cells presents a significant challenge to making the treatment a mainstream option.

As the researchers point out, the amount of resveratrol required to make a measurable difference in the efficacy of radiation is quite substantial. While the compound is available in concentrated form from health food stores and pharmacies, if patients were to take the amount of the compound that’s required, they might suffer some unpleasant side effects. More importantly, taking too much resveratrol could create excessive blood thinning, increasing the likelihood of bleeding — especially if taken with blood thinners or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
Still, researchers are optimistic about the potential of resveratrol to become an important part of cancer treatment protocols. If they can determine an efficient way to deliver the compound to cancer cells prior to radiation, then it can be used in all types of cancer and potentially reduce the amount and duration of radiation therapy cycles.

An Irritating Issue:

While radiation treatment is considered one of the most effective forms of cancer treatment, as it allows treatment to be focused on the specific cancer site rather than the entire body, like chemotherapy. However, it’s not without side effects.
Some of the most common side effects of radiation therapy are skin irritations, including redness, rashes, itching and peeling. However, research has discovered that patients who enjoy a glass of red wine each day experienced fewer skin-related side effects than those who did not. The scientists credit the benefits to red wine’s antioxidant properties; the powerful vitamins in red wine help strengthen the skin and protect it against the harmful effects of radiation.

It’s interesting to note that in these studies, the red wine did not have a measurable effect on the radiation treatment itself; in other words, there was no obvious increase in the amount of cancer cells that were killed as result of drinking red wine. This is likely in large part to the issues mentioned previously: a single glass of wine simply does not contain enough resveratrol to improve the radiation’s efficacy.
Additional research will reveal a delivery method for resveratrol to cancer cells; until then, the compound cannot be considered a vital part of radiation treatment. But when that does happen, it’s reasonable to expect a significant decrease in treatment periods and an increase in remission rates. And truly, we can all raise a glass to that.

About the Author: Laura Addison covers health and medicine for several blogs and print publications.

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Posted on: 21.01.2014 18:05

Really interesting stuff. I knew red wine has a ton of positive effects for everyday life but it's nice to know it's great for cancer patients too.


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