New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer

How resveratrol can prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes
December 7, 2012

A glass of red wine (credit: Photos Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

University of Leicester scientists have presented groundbreaking new evidence about how a chemical found in red wine can help prevent cancer.

Experts from around the world attended Resveratrol 2012, a major conference at the University to assess the latest advances in the study of resveratrol — a compound found in the skins of red grapes.

The conference featured new findings based on the last two years of research, which show how the chemical can help prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The event follows the first international conference on resveratrol, held in 2010 in Denmark, and evidence from more than ten clinical trials held since will be presented and discussed.

Although the potential health benefits of resveratrol have been known for some time, it has not yet been proven that resveratrol can be effective in humans and the best dose to give remains unknown — meaning that its widespread use cannot safely be recommended at the moment.

Researchers at the University of Leicester have been researching the levels of resveratrol which can be beneficial in preventing cancer.

Using laboratory models, they have found that a daily amount of resveratrol equivalent to two glasses of wine can halve the rate of bowel tumors.

Professor Karen Brown, a member of the University’s Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group and one of the organizers of Resveratrol 2012, said: “At the University of Leicester, we want to see how resveratrol might work to prevent cancer in humans. Having shown in our lab experiments that it can reduce tumor development, we are now concentrating on identifying the mechanisms of how resveratrol works in human cells.”

The Leicester researchers now hope to take their findings from the lab to the next stage by carrying out clinical trials to find the optimum level of resveratrol in humans.

Professor Brown added: “A lot of people take resveratrol as a supplement, but at the moment we don’t know how it works or on whom it can work until we have more information — we don’t even know the best dose you should take. It has been shown that high doses of resveratrol may potentially interfere with other medication. With all the exciting new studies that are being done — especially the clinical trials — I hope we’ll have a clearer picture in the next few years.”

The conference produced a selection of reports with the latest update on global resveratrol research, as well as the next set of recommendations for the coming year’s scientific research and the use of resveratrol.

Listen and download: Professor Karen Brown: New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer podcast.

Note: any errors in this article are due to our diligent research in testing this remarkable medicinal solution ourselves. — Ed.