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New study finds that red wine has benefits beyond your heart

Hannah is senior lifestyle editor at SheKnows and STYLECASTER, covering love and sex, politics, career, home, food, travel and more. Her work has been published by Glamour, Refinery29, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Redbook, Elle and others. Foll...

Red wine has compounds that may help correct hormone imbalances in women

Just in time for the holidays: New evidence shows that red wine is good for women in a way we weren’t aware of before — which means you can savor every sip of that tasty Malbec or Cab Sauv when you’re making this year’s cocktail party rounds. A natural compound called resveratrol in the skin of grapes and in red wine may help correct hormone imbalances in women with endocrine disorders and lower their risk of developing diabetes, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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The study examined 30 women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder that affects 5 million women in the U.S., or 1 in 10 women of childbearing age but is notoriously difficult to catch (less than 50 percent of cases are diagnosed). PCOS involves a woman’s ovaries or adrenal glands overproducing male hormones, resulting in cysts that can cause infertility, diabetes and heart disease. Scary!

Here’s where red wine comes in: It contains resveratrol, an antioxidant found in many plants that helps the plant survive by instigating an anti-inflammatory response and protecting against threats such as stress, injury, infection or fungus. The researchers gave some of the women 1,500 milligrams of resveratrol per day, tested their hormone levels after three months, and found that those who took the supplement had a 23.1 percent decrease in testosterone levels, while the control group who took placebos had an increase in testosterone. The participants who took resveratrol also had lower diabetes risk factors at the end of the study.

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Definitely great news for women who know they have PCOS and potentially those who don’t know they’re at risk. "This nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormone imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS," said study coauthor Antoni J. Duleba, M.D. of the University of California San Diego. "The findings suggest resveratrol can improve the body's ability to use insulin and potentially lower the risk of developing diabetes." You already know red wine may help high blood pressure, protect your heart and promote long life — now, you can add its ability to correct potential hormone imbalances to the list.

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