Red Wine Linked to Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

An in-depth analysis finds that drinking white wine may slightly elevate the risk, while red wine reduces it
Red Wine Linked to Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer
Scientists found that moderate amounts of red wine can lower your risk of prostate cancer. (istockphotos)
May 1, 2018

Researchers analyzing data from more than 600,000 men participating in multiple studies have found that moderate consumption of red wine may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. But they also found that white wine may increase the risk.

It's the latest chapter in wine's complicated relationship with cancer. Alcohol consumption has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers. But some studies have found that wine, particularly red wine, may decrease the risk of other cancers.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men, with an estimated 161,360 new cases in 2017, according to a journal of the American Cancer Society. It grows in the prostate gland at a very slow pace and is highly treatable if caught at an early stage, before it metastasizes. However, some forms of prostate cancer are extremely malignant and can proliferate swiftly.

Some past studies have shown a link between alcohol consumption and a higher risk of prostate cancer, but others found no impact. When it comes to wine specifically, a recent Harvard study found that light drinkers had a lower incidence of prostate cancer. A study published in the journal Cancer Science demonstrated that resveratrol (a chemical compound found in grapes, grape leaves and wine) may increase the effectiveness of radiation to destroy prostate cancer cells.

To try and clarify the science, an international research group of urologists conducted a meta-analysis specifically focused on whether moderate wine consumption would have an impact on prostate cancer and whether the effects varied for red and white wine. The researchers reviewed 930 published articles and abstracts and selected 17 studies that met rigorous guidelines. Those studies evaluated a combined 611,169 subjects. The team published its findings in the January 2018 issue of Clinical Epidemiology.

The results of the meta-analysis were mixed for wine lovers. Overall, moderate wine consumption did not raise the risk of prostate cancer.

But the results varied based on the color of the wines. White wine drinkers faced a slight increase in prostate cancer risk. Red wine drinkers faced a 12 percent decrease in prostate cancer risk.

The researchers believe that their findings call for further study of how white wine and red wine may impact cells on a molecular level. For now, it's good news for red wine enthusiasts.


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