What Is the Connection between Resveratrol and Estrogen?

Brandon May

There is some scientific evidence to suggest that resveratrol and estrogen are somewhat linked and may have undesirable effects on some individuals. Resveratrol is known to contain a compound directly related to a synthetic estrogen which can bind with estrogen receptors on cells and activate estrogen expression. Since cancer cells may use estrogen to help in their proliferation, or multiplication, inside the body, its use is cautioned in some people. The antioxidants found in resveratrol are said to be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic, yet more research needs to be conducted to determine the exact amount of antioxidants that are readily absorbed by the body for benefit.

Red wine is a popular source of resveratrol.
Red wine is a popular source of resveratrol.

Resveratrol is a chemical found in such foods as grapes, berries and red wine, and is said to be a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals within the body. Some research has shown that resveratrol and estrogen production are connected because resveratrol contains a compound similar to diethylstilbestrol. This compound is a synthetic estrogen, and may have the effects of binding to estrogen receptors on cells and activating estrogen expression in the body. Many researchers are unsure about this aspect of resveratrol's safety, reporting that overuse of resveratrol can lead to undesirable effects.

A Harvard Medical School study suggests that the resveratrol in red wine may help reverse some adverse effects of a high-fat diet.
A Harvard Medical School study suggests that the resveratrol in red wine may help reverse some adverse effects of a high-fat diet.

The combination of resveratrol and estrogen has received only a small acknowledgment in scientific literature, yet exploration into the connection is increasing slowly. One reason why resveratrol and estrogen are worth studying is because estrogen is a hormone that can actually feed breast cancer cells and help increase their rate of multiplication. This risk is alarming to many breast cancer researchers, who know that breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Not much is known about the effects of resveratrol and estrogen production inside the body, prompting critics to advocate for more contrast studies on the effects of daily resveratrol supplementation or ingestion.

Estrogen is necessary for reproductive health.
Estrogen is necessary for reproductive health.

Since resveratrol has been shown to be anti-carcinogenic in a wide variety of studies, it is clear that it does play a role in preventable health programs. New information surfacing about resveratrol is being tested to figure out its possible pharmalogical roles in treating disease such as cancer as well as bacterial infections. Some doctors warn certain patients, especially those with a history of breast cancer, to avoid taking resveratrol supplements until information about its effects on estrogen become clearer. Common sources of resveratrol are some red wines, as well as peanuts and grapes.

Resveratrol, which can be found in red wine, may help lower an individual's risk of coronary heart disease.
Resveratrol, which can be found in red wine, may help lower an individual's risk of coronary heart disease.
Despite its antioxidant properties red wine should still be consumed in moderation.
Despite its antioxidant properties red wine should still be consumed in moderation.

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Discussion Comments

anon1002721

At the age of 56 I took resveratrol supplements for just six weeks. I stopped after reading reports including one from NYU Langone which stated Resveratrol could increase female cancer risk. About two weeks after quitting Resveratrol I developed vaginal bleeding. I was stunned and worried. Thankfully I did not suffer long term effects. I never took Resveratrol again.

sweetPeas

I think that I knew at one time that estrogen can make breast cancer cells grow, but I had forgotten. I think that's a good reason not to take estrogen after and during menopause.

There are so many unknown connections between substances that get into our bodies and damage that can happen.

But there are also unknown factors that contribute to one person and not another getting breast cancer, for example. The strength of the immune system, nutrition, genetics and so on. It's very confusing and not easy to do studies on.

Misscoco

Interesting news - but the connection between resveratrol and estrogen at this time is inconclusive. It is a heads-up, though, for researchers and the public, especially women.

I wouldn't take a resveratrol supplement, but will continue to eat grapes and peanuts and drink a little red wine, but not on a daily basis.

It takes a lot of well-run studies to come up with any really conclusive evidence. In the meantime, we have to be cautious about taking supplements.

indemnifyme

@sunnySkys - Yeah, this information is kind of confusing. On one hand, resveratrol is supposed to prevent cancer. On the other hand, it may contribute to the growth of breast cancer.

Since breast cancer runs in my family, I'm giving some consideration to completely avoiding foods with resveratrol in them. At least until there is more conclusive research. The potential anti-aging benefits of resveratrol just aren't worth it to me!

sunnySkys

I had no idea that estrogen actually fed breast cancer cells. This is very disturbing.

Still, it seems like research about resveratrol is fairly inconclusive. It may have health benefits, it may actually be bad for you. I think the sensible thing to do would be to avoid taking resveratrol supplements. However, I'm still going to keep to my normal diet and not make it a point to avoid foods with resveratrol in them.

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