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Delhi Wine Club
Review Advises Women to Drink Moderately

Posted: Monday, 02 April 2012 11:52

Wine and Health: Review Advises Women to Drink Moderately

Apr 02 : In what might be a déjà vu for those following the studies on effects of wine and alcohol on health, the recent Review of earlier studies carried out, evidencing that even moderate consumption of alcohol can increase women's chances of developing breast cancer by five per cent, may not be as alarming as most of the reporting media has made it out to be.

Breast cancer risk of as much as 5% is found to have increased even with one glass of wine in a single day, say reports. The risk was found to have increased to as much as 30%, thereby making it clear that women who drink must have controlled amounts and those with a family history of breast cancer are being urged to give up drink altogether. ‘Women at an elevated risk for breast cancer such as those with a positive family history, or conditions associated with an increased breast cancer risk should avoid alcohol or consume alcohol only occasionally,' advises lead author of the Review, Prof Helmut Seitz of the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

According to Prof Seitz, breast is one of the most sensitive organs to over-consumption of alcohol. The female hormone oestrogen can be affected which fuels certain forms of breast cancer. ‘Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink, keeping a healthy weight and being physically active,' reportedly says Sarah Williams, health information officer at Cancer Research UK. The study further claimed that 1% of the breast cancer cases recorded in Britain every single year were due to indulgence of women in drinking.

The researchers have further noted that four glasses of alcohol increase the risk of developing breast cancer to 30%. Professor Carlo La Vecchia from the Milan University said, "The message for women is to limit alcohol. They should moderate it or avoid drinking altogether. We're not saying alcohol is as bad as cigarettes. It is a relevant public health issue".

Published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, the study had thoroughly examined over 1,000 other studies which had studied association between alcohol and breast cancer.

Instead of indulging in occasional drinking, women are found to have raised their daily consumption which has more or less put them into health complications. They must limit their intake of alcohol to shove off the risk attached with breast cancer and this is what even the study based on 120,000 breast cancer sufferers is reported to have suggested.

While the government guidelines recommend women to have two to three units a day, this study has certainly raised concerns among one and all to keep a track on how many units of alcohol they can actually have in a single day else they could be at heighted risk of breast cancer.

It ought to be clarified that this is not a fresh study but a Review of several earlier studies and focuses on breast cancer only. It does not talk of several studies and Reviews which list the positive effects of wine on heart and health in general. Several earlier studies had discovered the negative effect of alcohol on breast cancer. Most discovered an increase of 5-10% increase with a glass of wine daily but reduction of heart attacks and disease by up to 40%. The risk goes up to 30-40% with 3 glasses a day, according to those studies. For women over 40, the moderate wine drinking is certainly a beneficial beverage overall.

The Review also does not indicate the level of one glass, which depends upon the size of liquid in each glass and should be taken at 125 mL (6 glasses to a standard bottle). The alcohol content is equally important;12-12.5% is standard whereas these days 14-15.5% and increasing due to global warming is quite common; the amount imbibed must be adjusted downwards for wines with higher alcohol.

Indian Wine Academy and delWine have been recommending one glass a day for women and two for men; possibly two for women and three for men who have otherwise a healthy lifestyle, and continue to do so as would be evident from dozens of our earlier reports. Prof. Dr. Curt Ellison of Boston who has been involved in wine and health studies for over 25 years and is well aware of the negative effects of excessive wine and alcohol and cancer recommends women take folate tablets daily as it brings down the chance of getting cancer with moderate drinking to practically zero. Please consult your doctor or write to for specific queries and we shall be glad to forward them to him for his expert opinion-editor 



Subhash Arora Says:

The Comment by Dr. Curt Ellison was in response to my query to him through his associate Helena Conibear- I had sent her the article with my editorial comments as well. Subhash Arora

Posted @ April 03, 2012 12:55


R. Curtis Ellison, MD Says:

Hi, Helena,  The statement you forwarded to me is accurate and well balanced.  There has been so much written on this topic that I am not sure what else we could say at this time.  When the next paper on alcohol and breast cancer comes along, maybe we can expand our critique to give a major overview on the topic. Best,  Curt
R. Curtis Ellison, MD

Posted @ April 03, 2012 12:25


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