A glass red wine a day could help prevent women developing a common condition that can stop them having children, according to new research.
The study suggests that the natural compound resveratrol, found in red wine, helps address the hormone imbalance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the leading cause of female infertility.
More than 3.5 million British women are estimated to have PCOS, the most common endocrine condition in women of childbearing age and is found in those who produce higher amounts of testosterone and androgen than average.
The elevated levels contribute to irregular or absent menstrual periods as well as weight gain, infertility and excess hair as well as increasing the risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes.
Study senior author Dr Antoni Duleba, of the University of California, said: “Our study is the first clinical trial to find resveratrol significantly lowers PCOS patients’ levels of testosterone as well as dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), another hormone that the body can convert into testosterone.
“This nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormone imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS.”
Resveratrol, a plant compound, has anti-inflammatory properties and is also found in nuts and grapes.
In a three month study, published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 30 women with polycystic ovaries completed a randomised trial at the University of Poznan in Poland where they were either given a resveratrol supplement or a placebo pill.
The participants, who took the pills daily for three months, gave blood samples at the beginning and end of the study to determine the level of testosterone and androgen as well as an oral glucose tolerance test to measure risk of diabetes.
Women who took the resveratrol supplement saw testosterone levels fall by 23.1 and DHEAS by 22.2 per cent while the placebo group’s testosterone levels increased 2.9 per cent and DHEAS increased by 10.5 per cent.
The participants taking the supplement pill also saw a reduction in the risk of diabetes as fasting insulin levels dropped by 31.8 per cent and they became more responsive to the insulin hormone.
Dr Duleba said: “The findings suggest resveratrol can improve the body’s ability to use insulin and potentially lower the risk of developing diabetes.
“The supplement may be able to help reduce the risk of metabolic problems common in women with PCOS.”
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