The potential health benefits of red wine and resveratrol on the human body have been known for some time. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults who drink moderate amounts of red and white wines are less likely to develop heart disease in comparison to heavy wine drinkers or those who do not drink at all. Wine helps to increase the amount of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or good cholesterol. It also decreases the chances of clot formation, reduces inflammation, and increases the production of flavonoids, which are antioxidants. However, new research on resveratrol is providing solid evidence for its role in fighting cancer as well.
A study last year from the University of Missouri found that resveratrol makes tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, published in the Journal of Surgical Research, found that resveratrol inhibited the survival of melanoma cells under radiation treatment. Study author, Dr. Michael Nicholl, said that although there is much more research to be done; he believes that resveratrol cripples a cancer cell’s ability to recover after a dose of radiation.
A more recent study from France found that resveratrol and aspirin can fight cancers by destroying tetraploid cells. Tetraploid cells have four copies of chromosomes, rather than the usual two sets. These cells are associated with precancerous lesions. Tetraploid cells aren’t uncommon and the body usually gets rid of them. However, these cells are usually abundant in early stages of several cancers such as cancers of the cervix, breast and prostate.
The research team used genetically modified mice to see effects of aspirin and resveratrol on cancers. The mice were genetically tweaked to have a high risk for developing intestinal cancer and had more tetraploid cells than other rodents. They found that when the mice were given either aspirin or resveratrol, the number of tetraploid cells decreased and with it the chances of developing cancer also decreased.
Researchers believe that both aspirin and resveratrol work by activating an enzyme called AMPK. They found that the compounds increased activity of the enzyme in both normal and tetraploid cells, however only abnormal cells died.
“Collectively, our results suggest that the chemopreventive action of resveratrol and aspirin involves the elimination of tetraploid cancer cell precursors,” researchers wrote in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.