Another reason to drink wine

March 20, 2009


One of the fastest growing cancers is Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a precursor to oesophageal cancer. That cancer has increased 500 percent in the last 30 years so anything that can help prevent it is good news. Just one glass of red wine a day can lower that risk by 56 percent, according to a new study by the US Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and reported in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

This little known condition currently affects 5 percent of the US population and happens when heartburn or acid reflux permanently damages the oesophageal lining. Unfortunately those who develop Barrett’s Esophagus have a 30 – 40 fold higher risk of developing oesophageal cancer because of the Barrett’s Esophagus cells ability to mutate into cancer cells.

If you regularly suffer heartburn and take over the counter or prescribed medicines for it then you must check with your doctor on a regular basis because you will not get any warning signs that you may have this condition because it has no obvious symptoms. It is usually diagnosed when someone has an endoscopy for a bleeding ulcer or heartburn and the condition is revealed.

There is also no treatment available at the moment, so anything that helps prevent it is to be welcomed. In this case that means drinking a glass of wine (red or white – they don’t mention rose) every day and that will reduce your risk by 56 per cent. It’s only wine that does this – spirits or beer had no effect – at least on the Barrett’s Esophagus risk. Wine is already known to be beneficial for the heart, but why it works here is not really known. It may be that the antioxidants in the wine neutralize the oxidative damage caused by gastroesophageal reflux – a known risk factor for Barrett’s Esophagus. Or, because most people drink wine with their meals, that the food reduces the potential for damage to the tissue in the oesophagus.

Not a drinker? Then keep your weight down and increase your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables to at least 8 portions and that will also reduce your risk. This research is also backed up by other studies looking at the same issue in Australia and Ireland.

However, if you do constantly suffer from acid reflux and heartburn it would be better to tackle it directly with dietary and lifestyle changes, rather than relying on antacids. Achieving and maintaining a normal body weight and ensuring your diet is high in antioxidants with plenty of vegetables and fruit will go a long way to helping.


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...