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Red Wine Antioxidant Fights Cancer

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center say the antioxidant found in grape skins, known as resveratrol, appears to work by targeting the cancer cell's energy source from within.

Researchers say the antioxidant found in grape skins, known as resveratrol, appears to work by targeting the cancer cell's energy source from within and crippling it. When combined with radiation, treatment with resveratrol prior to radiation also induced cell death, an important goal of cancer treatment.

Researcher Paul Okunieff, MD, chief of radiation oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says red wine consumption during chemotherapy or radiation treatment has not been well studied, but it's not prohibited. Okunieff says if a cancer patient already drinks red wine moderately, most physicians wouldn't tell the patient to give it up. But perhaps a better choice might be to drink as much red or purple grape juice, which also contains resveratrol, as desired.

The results showed that resveratrol had a variety of potentially valuable anti-cancer effects, including:

  • Making the cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy by hampering proteins that resist treatment
  • Triggering cancer cell death (apoptosis)
  • Injuring the cancer cell's energy source and decreasing its potential to function

"While additional studies are needed, this research indicates that resveratrol has a promising future as part of the treatment for cancer," Okunieff says.


* Reproduced with permission from Peter Svans at The Gurdies Winery

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