Drinking a glass of red wine a day may cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer in half, and the protective effect appears to be strongest against the most aggressive forms of the disease, according to a new study led by investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The findings, by Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., and colleagues in Fred Hutchinson’s Public Health Sciences Division, appear online in The International Journal of Cancer.
“We found that men who consumed four or more glasses of red wine per week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent,” Stanford said. “Among men who consumed four or more 4-ounce glasses of red wine per week, we saw about a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer....The more clinically aggressive prostate cancer is where the strongest reduction in risk was observed.”
Stanford and colleagues found no significant effects positive nor negative associated with the consumption of beer or hard liquor and no consistent risk reduction with white wine. This suggests that the antioxidant resveratrol may be accountable.
While the researchers found that the risk of prostate cancer decreased 6 percent for every glass of red wine consumed per week, research shows the law of diminishing returns comes into play when consumption increases beyond moderation. Stanford states “From a public-health standpoint, it’s difficult to recommend any alcohol consumption given the risks associated with heavy consumption, from increased overall cancer risk to accidental injury and social problems. But for men who already are consuming alcohol, .. this study suggest that modest consumption of red wine four to eight 4-ounce drinks per week is the level at which you might receive benefit. .”