Research: HARTMAN and others,

Listed in Issue 120


HARTMAN and others, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA,, have investigated the consequences of moderate alcohol consumption in postmenopausal women.


Although alcohol intake has been positively associated with breast cancer risk in epidemiological studies, the mechanisms mediating this association are speculative. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of alcohol consumption with antioxidant nutrients and a marker of oxidative stress.


53 participating women consumed a controlled diet plus each of the following three treatments:15 or 30 g alcohol/day or a no-alcohol placebo beverage, during three 8-week periods in random order. Antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium and vitamin C were measured at the end of diet periods. A measurement of 15-F(2t)-IsoP isoprostane, produced by lipid peroxidation, was also taken to serve as an indicator of oxidative stress (and which may serve as a marker for conditions favourable to carcinogenesis).


A significant 4.6% decrease (p=0.02) in vitamin E, and a marginally significant 4.9% increase (p=0.07) in isoprostane levels was measured when women consumed 30 g alcohol daily. The other antioxidants were not significantly affected by the alcohol consumption.


These findings suggest that moderate alcohol consumption increases some markers of oxidative stress, and thus possibly of the risk of cancer, in postmenopausal women.


Hartman TJ, Baer DJ, Graham LB, Stone WL, Gunter EW, Parker CE, Albert PS, Dorgan JF, Clevidence BA, Campbell WS, Tomer KB, Judd JT, Taylor PR. Moderate alcohol consumption and levels of antioxidant vitamins and isoprostanes in postmenopausal women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 59 (2): 161-168, Feb 2005.

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