Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) prevent the conversion of androgens to estrogens, and could play a role in the development of breast cancer. This study of 36 pre-menopausal women consisted of a cross-over intervention trial to determine if there were differences between red wine and white wine in their effects on AIs. Subjects sequentially consumed eight ounces of red wine, followed by white wine (or vice versa), each beverage for a one-month period. The investigators concluded that red wine, but not white wine, was associated with significant effects on some indices of estrogen metabolism; free testosterone and luteinizing hormone were increased, but no significant differences were noted in estrogen levels.
Forum reviewers considered the results interesting and that they contribute to our understanding of the relation of wine to hormonal levels. On the other hand, they were concerned about methodological problems, including a lack of baseline data and variations in the timing during the menstrual period of blood sampling (which could affect estrogen levels). Also, no significant effect of the interventions was seen on blood levels of estradiol.
Further, the Forum thought that it should be pointed out that data are inconsistent on the relation of red wine consumption to the risk of breast cancer; many studies do not show beverage-specific effects on risk. More research will be needed to determine if the polyphenols in red wine can play a role in lowering the risk of breast cancer.
Reference: Shufelt C, Bairey Merz CN, Yang YC, Kirschner J, Polk D, Stanczyk F, Paul-Labrador M, Braunstein GD. Red versus white wine as a nutritional aromatase inhibitor in premenopausal women. J Women's Health, 2011;DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3001
Comments on this paper were provided by the following members of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research:
Lynn Gretkowski, MD, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Mountainview, CA, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Erik Skovenborg, MD, Scandinavian Medical Alcohol Board, Practitioner, Aarhus, Denmark
Creina Stockley, clinical pharmacology, Health and Regulatory Information Manager, Australian Wine Research Institute, Glen Osmond, South Australia, Australia
Harvey Finkel, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
Arne Svilaas, MD, PhD, general practice and lipidology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Ulrich Keil, MD, PhD, Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
David Van Velden, MD, Dept. of Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fulvio Ursini, MD, Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Gordon Troup, MSc, DSc, School of Physics, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
R. Curtis Ellison, MD, Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
For the detailed critique of this paper by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, go to http://www.
The specialists who are members of the Forum are happy to respond to questions from Health Editors regarding emerging research on alcohol and health and will offer an independent opinion in context with other research on the subject
Helena Conibear co Director
The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research