Oct 31: While it is still controversial if pregnant women should drink wine, a Study in the US has concluded that women who drink at least one glass of red wine a week have a higher chance of fertility than those who don’t, with scientists believing that this could be due to an antioxidant that is abundant in red wine, but with some experts pointing out that the results should be considered with caution
Scientists have found indications that women who drink at least a glass of red wine a week have better preserved fertility than those who do not. The researchers believe that the molecule involved could be resveratrol, an antioxidant that protects cells against biological stress and is abundant in red grapes-and consequently red wine, blueberries and cocoa.
A team of physicians at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, looked at the association between various alcoholic drinks and ovarian reserve, a measure of a woman’s reproductive health. They asked 135 women aged between 18 and 44 to keep a diary detailing how much beer, spirits and red and white wine they drank each month.
During this period the scientists also conducted regular ultrasound scans on each of the women to calculate how many remaining viable eggs they had. They found that those who regularly consumed red wine, regardless of other factors such as age and income, had a better ovarian reserve. Benefits were recorded only for the women who drank moderate amounts of red wine i.e. five or more glasses each month.
As has become almost mandatory in such Studies, experts point out that the results should be considered with caution, as the study hadn’t proved that the wine was solely responsible for the fertility boost in participants and those looking to conceive should not reach for a glass of red wine every evening.
Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, told The Times that the research was interesting, but insisted that further studies would be necessary in order to prove the findings. This is an interesting study, but the sample size is too small to be statistically significant, he pointed out.
“However, the exposure of the developing foetus to alcohol may cause irreversible developmental damage, so alcohol consumption should be less than six units [roughly two large glasses of wine] per week for women wishing to conceive,” he adds.
Channa Jayasena, clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London and a member of the British Society for Endocrinology, said: “There is a lot of interest in whether antioxidants could improve fertility in men and women. It is tempting to tell women to rush out and drink red wine, which contains antioxidants, but this study does not support that.”
As the Comments on the Times Article indicate, most people are not impressed with the studies either. Such Studies have become commonplace with results not being conclusive or convincing but only making way for further Studies and supposedly resulting in more Grants for the researchers. We do not advise drinking wine for women who need to improve their chances of fertility, solely with that objective. But as a lifestyle drink which has definite benefits over any possible harm when imbibed in moderation, we recommend a glass of red wine or two every day, preferably with meals-thus maintaining status quo on our earlier declared advisory. It is best to consult a doctor who is evolved and up to date with research like this -editor
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