Green Tea Benefits – Cancer Prevention and EGCG
Many population studies would suggest that green tea has properties that protect against the development of various cancers and countries that consume green tea on a very regular and frequent basis, like Japan or Taiwan, tend to have lower cancer rates. But these broad sorts of studies and inferences can’t tell us for certain whether green tea helps prevent cancer in humans. They can’t even prove whether green tea had all that much to do with it or not. However, a flood of new animal and clinical research that has been conducted over the last decade, coupled with this population based data, can help us paint a more complete picture.
Antioxidant compounds in green tea, particularly EGCG(epi gallocatechin gallate), effect different cancers in different ways, here are some examples of studies conducted on bladder cancer and colon cancer;
· Bladder Cancer-
In an issue of Clinical Cancer Research, published February 15th 2005, researchers showed how green tea could prevent the cancer’s becoming invasive by affecting the process of actin remodeling. Actin remodeling plays a major role in cell movement and is regulated by a series of signaling pathways, of particular interest is the Rho pathway. By inducing Rho signaling, green tea made the cancer cells more mature and bound them more closely together. Both the maturity of the cells and this binding inhibit their mobility and by dent of that their invasiveness.
· Colorectal Cancer-
Researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University published a study in 2003 of a group of mice predisposed to developing intestinal tumors revealing that after 12 weeks of treatment with green tea had developed significantly fewer tumors than those who had received no treatment.(Carcinogenesis, February 2003)
In research reported by Dr. Hang Xiao from the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University during the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention (sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research) showed that mice treated with a standardized polyphenol preparation containing mostly EGCG were less than half as likely to develop colon cancer when azoxymethane, a chemical that produces colorectal tumors with many similarities to human colorectal cancer, was introduced into their systems.
“In the control group, 67 percent of rats developed malignant tumors while in the treated group only 27 percent of rats had malignant tumors. Most important, tea polyphenols decreased the number of malignant tumors per rat by 80 percent compared to the control group” said Dr. Xiao in his statement to the conference.
These are two kinds of cancer, with only a few scientific studies to illustrate the efficacy of green tea as a weapon in the fight against them, but the picture these examples start to paint is a very clear and hopeful one. There is a wealth of this research and information on green tea’s effect on other sorts of cancers such as prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer and on and on and on. Knowledge is power and tea is medicine, make sure you have plenty of both and live well!