Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with increased overall mortality, cancer, liver, and cardiovascular diseases; but low doses of alcohol (up to one drink per day) are not associated with the risk of any cancer site with the exception of breast cancer and possibly of oral and pharyngeal cancers. Moreover, recent evidence indicates that moderate alcohol and specifically wine intake provides cardioprotection and neuroprotection and may increase longevity. Various experimental data hypothesize a potential cancer chemopreventive role of some grape extracts, and complete sequencing of the grapevine genome has revealed genes responsible for the synthesis of health-promoting compounds (resveratrol and other polyphenols), thus advocating the development of future potential nutraceutical strategies. This focuses on the pros and cons of moderate alcohol and wine consumption and opens a debate on this topic.
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