Posted by: Chris Cole | November 7, 2008

Drink wine, pee lots, live longer… medical research rocks…

A couple of interesting recent publications have helped shed light on a potentially novel way to help prevent heart disease and reduce your chances of bladder cancer, and possibly bowel cancer, all at the same time… just by getting moderately pissed on good wine. Who says your doctor’s advice has to mean cutting back on the good things, eh?

We’ve known for a while now that red wine in moderation has a protective effect with regard to the development of coronary artery disease (crap building up in the arteries that supply the heart, leading to eventual blockage thereof, and a myocardial infarction or “heart attack”). More recent studies now suggest that white wine is just as good as red, and that the active ingredient appears to be substances known as polyphenols, found in pretty much all grape products, not just wine. Something in grape powder may also have a protective effect against certain types of colon cancer

A recent case-control study of 884 Spaniards with bladder cancer and an equivalent number without, has demonstrated that one’s risk of bladder carcinoma is inversely proportional to one’s frequency of urination. This means, the more often you pee, the less likely you are to get bladder cancer. You’re particularly well-protected, it seems, if you get up at least twice a night to water the ceramic pond. This should be particularly handy news for smokers, who have a 50-70% chance of getting bladder cancer during their lifetime.

So, without delving too deeply into renal physiology… apart from protecting your heart, wine (containing a wee tad of ethanol as it usually does) also inhibits the hormone (ADH) that tells your kidneys to hang on to water. This is why the toilet is such a popular and necessary (and indeed legally required) inclusion in all licensed establishments. Incidentally this is also why drinking alcoholic beverages when you’re dehydrated and actually thirsty, rather than just wanting to get smashed, is not the brightest of ideas.

Why does this matter? Well… loading up on some decent wine is going to (a) get you nicely sloshed, (b) reduce your chances of having a heart attack, (c) maybe reduce your risk of colon cancer, (d) make you pee like a footy field sprinkler system and consequently (e) therefore dramatically reduce your chance of getting bladder cancer.

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