Resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes and red wine, is more effective in smaller doses at preventing bowel cancer in mice than high doses, according to new research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Previous research looked at high doses of purified resveratrol to study its potential to prevent cancer. This is the first study to look at the effects of a lower daily dose - equivalent to the amount of resveratrol found in one large (approx. 250ml) glass of red wine - comparing it with a dose 200 times higher.
Results from bowel cancer-prone mice given the smaller dose showed a 50 per cent reduction in tumour size while the high dose showed a 25 per cent reduction. Lower doses of resveratrol were twice as effective as the higher dose in stopping tumours growing, although this effect was only seen in animals fed a high-fat diet.
Samples of tumours from bowel cancer patients given different doses of resveratrol showed that even lower doses can get into cancer cells and potentially affect processes involved in tumour growth.
Resveratrol is a naturally-occurring chemical found in grape skins and other plant sources such as peanuts, cocoa and berries, where it acts as a natural pesticide against fungal infections. Over the past few decades literally thousands of papers have been published about resveratrol, and its potential benefits are touted for a wide range of ailments including diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.
This study opens up new avenues for the role of purified resveratrol in preventing cancer, but suggests that it may only be effective for people with a specific genetic make-up, particular diets and lifestyles.
And it doesn't mean drinking red wine reduces cancer risk, as drinking alcohol increase the chances of developing the disease, and outweighs any possible benefits of the resveratrol.
Based on material originally posted by Cancer Research UK.