Q. I heard today that red wine and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are a bad mix. Is this true and if so how come? I thought red wine was supposed to be good for you.

A. Red wine in moderation has been found beneficial against heart disease, high blood pressure and perhaps even for helping reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But alcohol appears to increase the risk of breast cancer. Researchers have found that women taking HRT had more than the expected level of estrogen in their blood stream after drinking wine. This rise in circulating estrogen may be responsible for the elevated risk of breast cancer in women who drink.

We are sending you our Guide to Estrogen: Benefits, Risks & Interactions for more information about this combination and other controversies surrounding this hormone and cancer. The benefits of an occasional glass of red wine may outweigh the risk of breast cancer. Studies also suggest that taking folic acid may counteract this danger.

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