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Breast Cancer Prevention: The Benefits of Resveratrol

Reservatrol, the powerful antioxidant that red wine is known for, suppresses the abnormal cell formation that leads to most types of breast cancer, according to an in vitro study published in the July 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

“Resveratrol has the ability to prevent the first step that occurs when estrogen starts the process that leads to cancer by blocking the formation of the estrogen DNA adducts,” said lead author of the report Eleanor G. Rogan, Ph.D., in a prepared statement. This resveratrol-breast cancer link is significant because it means that resveratrol could stop the progression of breast cancer, since breast cancer is often fueled by increased estrogen levels.

The findings of this research are exciting because these results were accomplished using fairly low concentrations of resveratrol. The suppression of estrogen DNA adducts was seen with a resveratrol concentration of 10 micromoles per liter, a level comparable to that of red wine. (A typical glass of red wine has a resveratrol concentration between 9 and 24 micromoles per liter, and contains between .3 and 1.9 mg of resveratrol.)

It’s hard to know exactly what these results mean in terms of how much resveratrol you need to consume to get it’s breast cancer prevention benefits, since the study was conducted in vitro. However, other research has shown that resveratrol activates anti-aging genes at dosages equivalent to about four glasses a day of red wine. We don’t recommend upping your alcohol intake to quite that level—luckily you can easily get that amount from a supplement.

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer among women in the U.S. and the #6 leading cause of death. Take a proactive approach to reducing your risk by eating a balanced diet, exercising and supplementing with antioxidants like resveratrol, which science has shown to provide protection against breast cancer. You can drink wine to increase you resveratrol intake, but since some research has shown that even moderate alcohol consumption can promote breast cancer in women, we recommend taking a standardized supplement.

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