Red wine a fertility boost for some women, study finds

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A daily glass of red wine could help boost fertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study.

PCOS causes hormonal imbalance and is a cause of infertility in hundreds of Australian women.

Researchers in the US have discovered a natural compound found in red wine and grapes, known as resveratrol, significantly lowers levels of the hormones testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in PCOS patients - therefore enhancing their chances of falling pregnant.

A study, published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, analysed the effects of resveratrol on 30 women with PCOS.

The women were randomly assigned to either take a resveratrol supplement or a placebo pill daily for three months.

Blood tests showed testosterone levels fell by 23.1 per cent among the women who received the resveratrol supplement.

In comparison, testosterone levels increased 2.9 per cent in the placebo group.

DHEAS declined by 22.2 per cent in the resveratrol group, while the placebo group experienced a 10.5 per cent increase in DHEAS levels.

In addition, the women who received resveratrol became more responsive to insulin over the course of the study and also showed a significant drop in fasting insulin levels, lowering their risk of diabetes.


Lead author of the study, Professor Antoni Duleba from the University of California, says this nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormone imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS.

He says it may also be able to help reduce the risk of metabolic problems among PCOS patients.

"The findings suggest resveratrol can improve the body's ability to use insulin and potentially lower the risk of developing diabetes," said Prof Duleba.

While this may be good news for the 12 to 21 per cent of Australian women with PCOS, fertility experts currently recommend that there is no safe alcohol consumption level for women while trying to conceive.

Men are also advised to keep to current safe drinking guidelines which are an average of 2 drinks per day maximum, with several alcohol-free days each week and no more than 4 standard drinks in one session.