Can Red Wine Really Boost Your Fertility?
Don't raise your glass just yet.
Red wine has gotten a rep for being a magic, cure-all elixir because of the resveratrol that's found in grape skins. A few of the big benefits? Red wine may boost "good" cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and reduce your risk of heart disease. All are amazing health perks that lift the guilt when pouring that second glass after a stressful day. Now, a new study out of Washington University in St. Louis is adding another possible benefit to the list: Red wine might boost your fertility.
The team had 135 women between the ages of 18 and 44 keep track of how much red wine, white wine, beer, and other alcohol they drank. Using an ultrasound, each woman's antral follicles (a measure of remaining egg supply, also known as ovarian reserve) were counted. Turns out, those who drank red wine had a higher count-especially those women who drank five or more servings per month.
But according to Aimee Eyvazzadeh, M.D., a fertility expert in San Francisco, the glass is only half full in this study. First off, if you're not a big drinker and don't drink wine (or any type of alcoholic beverages), the findings in this study should not become an excuse to start. Even though studies have shown that resveratrol is beneficial in increasing the chances of fertilization in eggs, it's not as simple as drinking a glass of wine with dinner. "One serving of red wine is about four ounces, which has a minimal amount of resveratrol in it," says Dr. Eyvazzadeh. "You need to drink the equivalent of over 40 glasses of red wine per day to get the dose of resveratrol needed to improve egg health." Yeah, not recommended.
Plus, the study didn't actually look at pregnancy rates-it just looked at the ovarian reserve, which might not actually have anything to do with your chances of conceiving. (Some experts say it's more about the quality of your eggs, not the quantity.) "Fertility is much more than an ultrasound used to count follicles," says Dr. Eyvazzadeh. "It's age, genetic factors, uterine factor, hormone levels and environment. Before you start drinking more because you think it's going to improve fertility, think about taking a resveratrol supplement instead."
You know what you can raise your glass to? Moderation! And hey, maybe that glass of red wine can still help you make a baby the old-fashioned way.