Do you usually count the numbers of drinks you have or just enjoy the moment and have fun with friends? Is it is safe to have a couple of drinks every day? Drinking can be fun but it can lead to so many unpleasant life situations, injuries, and health issues. It can even increase your chances of getting cancer, so be very cautious if you drink heavily and do not pay attention to drinks you have every day!
When we speak about the bad effects of alcohol, we cannot somehow think of the wine, which is known for many health benefits, when you drink it in moderation. But, is the wine, rich in antioxidants really healthy? Can the wine help you to prevent some diseases, even cancer? Let’s find out in this article!
Unfortunately, we cannot point out one single cause that leads to getting cancer. Researchers believe that it is probably an interaction of a few factors (behavioral, genetic, environmental, cellular,) of the individual.
But, they know some of the main risk factors that may increase the chances of getting such as:
As we can see, drinking alcohol (all alcoholic drinks) can raise the risk of getting cancer and it is responsible for 6 % of all cancers and 4 % of cancer deaths in the United States (1). Most people are not aware of the fact that alcohol can raise the risk of developing six types of cancer:
It might also raise the risks of getting other cancers as well, (stomach for example). For most cancers, the more alcohol you drink, the higher the chances that you will develop cancer, but drinking a small amount of alcohol may also affect your body and there is a big risk of catching breast cancer even with drinking one glass of beer per day.
Breast cancer has visible growth and it is most common in women. It grows in the breast’s cells and there are 4 progression stages.
According to WHO, breast cancer is cancer that is most frequently diagnosed in the European region and there are 1579 women unfortunately diagnosed every day with this disease. (2)
It develops when the breast cells start to grow abnormally and are rapidly dividing forming a lump. These lumps are usually painless but are visible
In the early stages, the cancerous cells are within the milk ducts, that supply the breast with milk and haven’t spread to other parts of the body. There are 4 stages of breast cancer:
As we have seen, breast cancer may easily spread to other parts of the body or the lymph nodes. It is evaluated that probably around 5 to 10 % of breast cancers are related to genetics.
As this type of cancer is most common in women, there are some specific risk factors related to it such as follows:
On the other hand, if you are breastfeeding or you have breastfed, this decreases the chances of getting breast cancer. (3)
There are some factors that cannot be related to breast cancer.
this might not be related to increasing your chances of getting breast cancer.
One of the earliest symptoms of breast cancer are:
If you start changing your lifestyle, this may decrease the chances of getting breast cancer.
One new study, conducted in 2020, has shown that 4 % of the world’s newly diagnosed cancers are related to drinking alcohol and the vast majority was breast cancer in women. (5)
Why is this happening? Almost all alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, a chemical compound that is a natural byproduct of the fermentation of plants. This chemical compound, ethanol is divided into acetaldehyde, a metabolite that damages the DNA and prevents the cells to repair the damage. (6)
What’s more, alcohol increases the level of estrogen and other hormones and provokes the cell to divide and there is a higher risk of getting cancer.
It also reduces the chances of absorbing, digestion, storage, and some nutrients and vitamins ( C, D, E, A, K, and B vitamins). (7)
People who drink alcohol more than recommended, are also deficient in some minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron). On the other hand, it increased the folic acid in their body, and all these factors, increase the chances of getting breast cancer.
The risk is even higher if it is influenced by your genes and those genes that encode enzymes involved in breaking down the cells.
And one of the worst pairings is that of alcohol and tobacco as alcohol increases the effects of tobacco and they both suppress the immune system. (8)
2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 drinks per day for a man and 1 drink per day for a woman.
You should not drink if you:
Unfortunately, there is no safe level of consumption alcohol when it comes to breast cancer and it is classified as a Group 1 human carcinogen by IARC.
Each glass of wine and beer you drink increases the risk of developing cancer and more than 10 % of cancer cases are related to drinking just one bottle of beer 02 two glasses of wine every day.
Nevertheless, studies showed that one wine ingredient resveratrol, prevents estrogen to cause breast cancer and decreases the development of estrogen into cancerogenic compounds, and even increases one enzyme that destroys them. What is more important is that it lowers the chances of interaction between the estrogen metabolites and cellular DNA.
One review from 2018, that gathered results from 60 studies related to alcohol and cancer, indicated that very light drinking is not related to developing cancers, except for breast cancer in women and colorectal cancer in men. (9)
The following results are found:
In this clinical trial, one drink had 12.5 grams (g) of alcohol.
The wine has some health benefits, more specifically red wine if you drink it in moderation. It may help you with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and help your heart health.
When we speak about cancer, we must mention its component resveratrol, which is a polyphenol, a highly praised antioxidant. (10). Resveratrol can be found in red grapes, its skin, grape juice, peanuts, blueberries, cranberries, and it is its natural component.
It's also available as a dietary supplement and you can buy it at the local drugstore.
There are many clinical trials and the risks and benefits of it are still to be tested more formally.
One new study published in The FASEB Journal in 2011, conducted by Italian and American scientists showed that resveratrol prevents the progression of cancer and rapid increase of the breast cancer cells. (11)
One other study, that compares white wine and red wine, says that the aromatase inhibitors (AIs) in red wine — and, white wine (with lower effect) — may raise the level of testosterone and decrease estrogen levels in females that are approaching menopause and increase the risk of getting cancer. (12)
Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine as it is fermented in the skins, which is not case with the white wine. Most of the resveratrol in grapes is in the seeds and skin.
The negative side is that antioxidants in red wine are low and you need to drink a lot of it to ingest it and to serve as a prevention against cancer.
On other hand, and as already mentioned, there are many studies that support the claim that drinking a lot of alcohol can cause certain cancers, (breast cancer among others) if you drink it in high doses.
Nonalcoholic red wines may also include resveratrol.
If you need more healthy options than drinking red wine, you can start consuming more grapes and berries that are even richer in resveratrol.
As we have seen the bad effects of alcohol on your health and as some scientists even pointed out, alcohol is toxic and damages your genes, you should start controlling and measuring your daily intake and be more cautious when it comes to its consumption.