Health experts have long maintained that drinking red wine (in moderation, of course) can have a positive impact upon our health: it can lower our cholesterol levels, reduce risk of heart attacks and even help keep our memories sharp as we enter old age. Now, a new study has suggested that it might boost fertility in women, too.
Researchers as Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, found that women who drink at least one glass of red wine per week had a better chance of becoming pregnant than those who didn’t, with better ovarian reserve (the quality of eggs present in a woman’s ovaries). This could be down to the presence of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red grapes which also acts as a powerful anti-ageing ingredient.
The study’s authors surveyed 135 women aged between 18 and 44, asking them to keep a diary of how much alcohol they consumed every month.
Over the same period, the women had regular ultrasound scans to assess how many viable eggs they had.
The women who drank at least five glasses of red wine over a month tended to have more viable eggs, regardless of other factors like age and income.
It’s important to take these findings with caution, however, given the small sample size used in the study. ‘It is an interesting idea that a small amount of red wine might be positively associated with ovarian reserve,’ Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, told The Times over the weekend.
‘However, the exposure of the developing foetus to alcohol may cause irreversible development damage, so alcohol consumption should be less than six units [roughly two large glasses of wine] per week for women wishing to conceive,’ he added.
The NHS currently recommends that women trying to get pregnant should cut out alcohol completely, advising that ‘the Chief Medical Officers recommend that the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all.