While too much of any alcohol can give you a day-destroying hangover, red wine’s vaunted medical benefits have been well-documented.
Known conferring multiple health benefits on moderate drinkers, including a reduction in inflammation, increases in healthy cholesterol and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, this alcoholic party staple could now help women get pregnant faster. And we’re not joking in the slightest.
A new study by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has shown that drinking a small amount of red wine every month, increases women’s ovarian reserve – the number of viable eggs present within the ovaries. The study, conducted on 135 women, showed a positive correlation between red wine consumption and egg production.
Well, while the connection at present is somewhat tenuous, researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory chemical reservatrol, which is significantly concentrated in red wine, could be what is causing this phenomenon.
However, this doesn’t mean you should binge out on the Bordeaux since the positive correlation only applied to women who drank moderate amounts of red wine every month. And how much is ‘moderate amounts’?
135 women of ages between 18 and 44 were asked to keep a record of their alcohol intake each month, and those that drank 5-6 glasses in that duration were found to have a more abundant number of eggs.
Note that the same effects were not found with regard to consumption of white wine or beer. While red grape skins do contain a large amount of concentrated reservatrol, the chemical is also found in raspberries, mulberries and blueberries. So instead of drinking wine during ovulation, perhaps women struggling to get pregnant should consider a diet rich in these berries.
While the study is certainly interesting, most researchers agree that more analyses need to be executed before the findings can be construed as general advice. One of the key causes for concern are the damaging effects that alcohol can have on a developing embryo, which are often irreversible. Some of the effects of alcohol abuse during pregnancy include brain and spinal deformities, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Additionally, since the study didn’t actually measure pregnancy rates, but only the potential for improved fertility, the data cannot be called conclusive. This is especially true considering the relatively small sample size, although it’s worth it to note that the study did account for the age and BMI of each participant.
So while it may be tempting to break out the red wine for fertility from your Christmas party leftovers, make sure you don’t overdo it in the pursuit of motherhood. That’s not to say you can’t indulge at all, but perhaps that it would be better to limit yourself to two glasses of red wine a week.
But remember, the guidelines for someone trying to have an IVF baby are not necessarily the same. It’s ideal to abstain from alcohol completely if you’re having an in-vitro fertilization procedure and consult with your doctor over the potential effects of the substance.