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Red wine compound resveratrol could boost prostate cancer survival

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Resveratrol could help men survive even aggressive prostate cancer

The compound resveratrol found in red wine and grapes might offer new hope for treating prostate cancer. Results of an investigation show resveratrol might help men recover from even aggressive forms of the disease.

Researchers discovered from past studies that resveratrol makes cancer tumors more susceptible to chemotherapy. University of Missouri-Columbia Scientists wanted to find out if the anti-oxidant could also make prostate cancer cells more susceptible to radiation treatment.

Michael Nicholl, an assistant professor of surgical oncology in the MU School of Medicine reports in a media release, “We found that when exposed to the compound, the tumor cells were more susceptible to radiation treatment, but that the effect was greater than just treating with both compounds separately."

It seems the combination of resveratrol and radiation therapy has a synergistic effect that increases levels of two key proteins that destroy cancer cells - perforin and granzyme B.

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Nicholl said, "Following the resveratrol-radiation treatment, we realized that we were able to kill many more tumor cells when compared with treating the tumor with radiation alone. It's important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells."

But you can’t just take resveratrol capsules, eat grapes or drink red wine to eradicate prostate cancer cells.

According to Nicholl, it’s not that it takes a lot of resveratrol to destroy cancer cells, but rather the body processes it so well that it would mean ingesting large amounts to get to the site of a prostate cancer tumor.

The challenge for the researchers is finding a delivery method. Resveratrol is attractive for prostate cancer therapy because it’s a natural compound that most people have consumed.

Over the next few years the researchers hope to test the anti-oxidant in animals. If trials are successful, resveratrol could be developed for human trials as a drug to treat prostate cancer. The researchers think the red wine; grape compound could boost the chances of ‘full recovery’ from even aggressive types of prostate cancer.

University of Columbia-Missouri
November 8, 2012



As an Applied Kinesiologist working with patients, I have noted many people who suffer from wine allergies. These sufferers restrict their consumption of wine because of headaches, facial flushing, sinus problems and other negative reactions. Wine allergies can be linked to a number of chemicals that enter the winemaking process.. Since most people can eat grapes without a problem, it would suggest that the natural phytochemicals found in grapes are an unlikely culprit. Therefore the focus must be on the chemicals added during the grape-growing and winemaking processes. Chemicals that are permitted by law for use in winemaking include pesticides, herbicides, equipment cleaning chemicals, and sulphite preservatives. No one really knows the exact part that each chemical plays towards allergies, and in any event, we know from studies conducted with phytomedicines (Herbal Medicines) that people react differently to the same chemicals. But at the end of the day, if you suffer from wine allergies, that is the only thing that is important. Sulphur Dioxide is a chemical that goes under different names including "Preservative 220" and "Sulphites", and it is the chemical that has been proven to cause most of the allergies experienced by wine drinkers. Note that whilst #220 is the most commonly used, any number between #220-226 is a sulphite. There is also a chemical called 2,4,6-Tribromophenol in wooden wine barrels, wooden wine racks, and the crates used to transport the grapes. It's a chemical used to give timber 'fire retardant' properties and is used in furniture, building materials, and other wood products. Another allergen found in wine is food colouring, used to obtain an even colour between the vintages. E 100 to E 180 are the numbers to look out for. Do not think red wine is the only one. White wine has the same chemicals and colouring.