Wednesday Bubble: red or white? Can wine choice affect breast cancer risk?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2009 in breast cancer | 4 comments


Hey all you wine lovers out there! There’s encouraging news out of last month’s North American Menopause Society meeting: red wine may work in the body the same way that aromotase inhibitors (agents that are used to block the production of estrogen and halt breast cancer) do!

In this study, researchers assigned 36 pre-menopausal women to red wine first (cabernet savignon) and then white wine (chardonnay). Each participant drank 8 ounces of the wine in the evening with food, did not drive afterward (for safety) and agreed to avoid other alcoholic beverages or grape products. Each “treatment” lasted one menstrual cycle (~1month) and included a break to “wash” the body of the prior wine type. All participants had their blood collected during the early follicular (day 5-8) and mid-luteal (days 17-21) phases in the period just before the study and during the two “treatment” cycles.

The results showed that compared to white,  red wine significantly increased levels of freely circulating testosterone in the body and also led to lower levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and estradiol. In other words, this means that similar to aromatase inhibitors, red wine helped prevent testosterone from converting to estrogen, thereby leading to lower levels of estradiol and estrone, which in turn, would provide a means of starving an estrogen dependent tumor.

Although these findings are VERY preliminary, they do give hope that researchers might be on the cusp of realizing more natural ways to prevent breast cancer tumor growth. Let’s keep hope alive! Donate to breast cancer research.

Good health and cheers!


  1. 10-14-2009

    I’ve always had a preference for red wine; good to know I’m on the right track. 🙂

  2. 10-14-2009

    CandianChristine – it’s still too early to tell and this study was small. Still, I’m all for good news when it comes to breast cancer. And I’m always in favor of wine!

  3. 10-14-2009

    Like many people, I am allergic to red wine. It’s frustrating to read about the potential health benefits, not to mention missing out on the wonderful wines. Great post nevertheless!

    • 10-14-2009

      Candace – interesting comment and thanks for this. I’m not sure if the same properties are seen with other grape products but I can certainly look into it.

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