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Red wine curbs head, neck cancer, boosts metabolism: studies

When it comes to red wine, many studies have more positive reports than negative, especially because it has a compound known as resveratrol, which is present in red wine and also grape skin that researchers say may prevent head and neck cancer.

Alcohol is known to kill our cells and these cells may turn cancerous and it is here that resveratrol comes handy to repair them. “Resveratrol challenges these cells – the ones with unrepaired DNA damage are killed so they cannot go on to cause cancer. Alcohol damages cells and resveratrol kills damaged cells,” said Robert Sclafani, investigator at University of Colorado’s cancer centre.

The body metabolises alcohol by converting it first to acetyl aldehyde and then the body uses aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) to further convert it to acetic acid which is flushed out of the body. The partially processed state of alcohol, acetyl aldehyde, is a carcinogen and produces “cross links” in DNA and is dangerous.

With enough alcohol, the body chase and end up with a backlog of acetyl aldehyde. “Increased exposure to alcohol, loss of the ALDH gene that helps the body process alcohol, and loss of the ability to repair DNA cross links all result in increased cancer risk,” Sclafani said.

In red wine, resveratrol blocks the cancer-causing effect of alcohol and no wonder many scientists find it worth to toast. “Resveratrol takes out the cells with the most damage – the cells that have the highest probability of being able to cause cancer,” Sclafani said.

Resveratrol, however, is not a same mantra for all diseases, he cautions. It cannot completely undo the cancer-causing effects of alcohol. “But by killing the most dangerous cells, it may decrease the probability that alcohol use will cause cancer,” Sclafani added.

The element Resveratrol has been attributed in recent research findings to worth one-hour exercise due to its antioxidant feature. A Canadian research team said a glass of red wine could improve muscle and heart functions in the same way as an hour of exercise would provide.

“I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do,” said lead author Jason Dyck from the University of Alberta in Canada.

In addition to the heart, the antioxidant also helps to reduce the chance of developing cataracts, improves memory and even cuts down cancer risk, show previous research findings.

Red wine, or grape seeds pulp helps in preventing cavities and thus reducing your bill of a Dentist’s visit. When researchers recently experimented dripping biofilm (made of culture of bacteria responsible for dental disease) in differents fluids,red wine, red wine without alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, water and 12% ethanol for their study, red wine stood out.

“Red wine with or without alcohol and wine with grape seed extract were the most effective at getting rid of the bacteria,” said lead author M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas, an authority on wine chemistry from Spain.

(With inputs from IANS)

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