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Good news for red wine lovers - key ingredient halts breast cancer by blocking female hormone
By Claire Bates
A chemical found in red wine can stop breast cancer in its tracks, according to new research.
Laboratory tests have shown resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes, could halt the development of the disease by blocking the growth effects of the hormone oestrogen.
Scientists said the finding published in The FASEB Journal has important implications for the treatment of patients.
Dr Sebastiano Ando, of the University of Calabria in Italy, said: 'Resveratrol is a potential pharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to the hormonal therapy.'
The key chemical is also found in blueberries, peanuts and cranberries.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, and almost 45,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.
Resveratrol works by blocking the way oestrogen combines with DNA in a woman's body to spread tumour cells by turning them malignant.
Dr Ando and colleagues found the growth of breast cancer cells was reduced dramatically when they were treated with the healthy ingredient, while no changes were seen in untreated cells.
Additional experiments revealed the effect was related to a drastic reduction of oestrogen receptor levels caused by resveratrol itself.
Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor in chief of The FASEB Journal, said: 'These findings are exciting, but in no way does it mean that people should go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements as a treatment for breast cancer.
'What it does mean, however, is that scientists haven't finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine.'
Resveratrol has previously been linked to anti-ageing properties. The chemical is just one of a number of so called "healthy chemicals" found in red wine, called polyphenols.
EXPLAINING OESTROGEN
Normally, oestrogen is extremely helpful - aside from its role in the reproductive cycle, it keeps blood vessels elastic, increases good cholesterol and strengthens bones by absorbing calcium from the blood.
But too much oestrogen can wreak havoc among cells by speeding up their growth and multiplication - and sometimes causing breast cancer.
There are many different types of oestrogen. The body's natural oestrogen is 'strong' oestrogen and can be counterbalanced by 'weak' oestrogens from plant foods - such as the skin of grapes.
'Good' and 'bad' oestrogens are formed when the body prepares to remove oestrogen from the system.
Strong and weak oestrogens actively circulate in the bloodstream. Good and bad oestrogens are waste products. Chemical oestrogens are chemicals like pesticides that mimic real oestrogens in the body.
Finally, there are 'anti-oestrogens' - drugs like tamoxifen that completely block oestrogen's effect in breast tissue.
All oestrogens lock on to cell receptors, fitting them like keys in a lock. The breasts are loaded with oestrogen receptors, which soak up oestrogen from the blood. When too many strong, bad or chemical oestrogens reach these receptors, the potential for cancer rises.
Hundreds of studies have now definitively linked excess oestrogen levels with higher risks of breast cancer.
Where Does Oestrogen Go Wrong?
When strong oestrogens lock on to receptors, they emit very powerful signals for cell growth. When weak oestrogens lock on, the signal is much weaker. The more powerful the signal, the greater the potential for cancer.
If weak oestrogens fill receptors, they prevent strong oestrogens from attaching, thereby reducing the stimulus to multiply, and reducing the chance that cells will multiply out of control.
Certain chemicals and pesticides are similar in composition to natural oestrogen. When they lock onto receptors they also stimulate cell growth and division, increasing the cancer potential. And fatty breast tissue can concentrate even traces of pesticides to highly toxic levels - up to 700 times greater than found in blood.
How Food Helps
Diet plays a vital and powerful role in reducing cancer risk. Weak food oestrogens, such as resveratrol prevent too many strong oestrogens attaching to receptors.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2043814/Red-wine-compound-stops-breast-cancer-growing-blocking-female-hormone.html#ixzz1ZhzWFae3
 

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