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One Surprising Side Effect of Drinking Red Wine for Women, Says New Study

A compound found in red wine, soy, and peanuts, could help prevent endometriosis.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham
red wine

There's plenty of research out there that suggests drinking moderate amounts of wine, and particularly red wine may offer beneficial side effects, such as lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease or stroke. In fact, pairing red wine with cheese is even associated with greater cognitive activity in older adults.

Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and a number of other dietary sources such as the skin of grapes, peanuts, soy, and berries, has come into the spotlight in recent years for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's even thought to suppress tumor progression (although we're still far from knowing if it could be used as an effective cancer treatment). One new study, which was published in the journal Nature, suggests that resveratrol could even slow the progression of a common, painful disorder that afflicts women.

Endometriosis is a condition where a woman's uterine lining starts to grow outside of the uterine wall and onto other areas like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines. It's a progressive disease that can cause severe chronic pain, irregular bleeding, and infertility. The onset of endometriosis usually happens a few years after a woman's first menstruation and gradually progresses across four stages. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work).

The new study found that resveratrol may be able to slow the progression of endometriosis. The researchers isolated uterine lining (endometrial) cells from a group of 40 people, with cells from 15 people who didn't have endometriosis serving as a control group, and treated them with resveratrol. They found that resveratrol was able to suppress the gene and protein that contribute to the growth and migration of the endometrial cells.

These results are consistent with findings from a 2019 review, where the authors wrote that "it is clear that the anti-inflammatory effect of this natural compound can contribute to the prevention of endometriosis."

Though all of this research is promising, as the authors of the most recent study point out, the endometrial cells they treated with resveratrol were only taken from women with stage 3 and stage 4 endometriosis. More research needs to be done on cells from women with all stages of endometriosis to fully determine the beneficial effects of resveratrol in halting the progression of the disorder.

But researchers seem to think the prospects are promising—resveratrol may be the "new innovative drug in the prevention and treatment of this disease," as the 2019 study authors wrote. The studies have yet to determine what the best form of treating endometriosis with resveratrol might be. It could be a drug, a supplement, or, if we're lucky, even a glass of red wine every evening.

For more, be sure to check out 12 Surprising Health Benefits of Red Wine.

Urvija Banerji
Urvija Banerji has written about food for publications like Atlas Obscura, Eater, and The Swaddle. Read more