Green Tea May Positively Effect Stomach Cancer in Habitual Tea Drinkers

Green Tea May Positively Effect Stomach Cancer in Habitual Tea Drinkers

Stomach Cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Western World. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that
22,228 Americans will be diagnosed with stomach cancer during 2006. They also project that there will be an estimated 11,430 deaths from this type of disease.

Therefore, the search for a cure for this disease has been a long standing one. In the past, clinical researchers have hypothesized that drinking green tea may indeed inhibit stomach carcinogenesis, and a few case-studies with animals and human beings have successfully broadened this theory.

One landmark case study was conducted on humans in Shanghai, China from October 1991 to December 1993. This study is still considered to be the largest of its kind. During this study, 711 subjects and 711 controls (under the age of 80) were evaluated.

They were all residents of the Hongkou district and Nanhui country and were selected from identical streets or communes and matched in gender and age (within three years). This created two nearly identical, homogeneous groups. By creating these groups, researchers ensured that their findings would not be impacted by any outside contributing factors.

During this study, researchers evaluated the types of tea used, strength and temperature of the tea consumed, age when habitual tea drinking began, total duration of drinking for each batch, frequency of new batches of tea leaves used per day, and number of cups brewed from each batch. Statistical analysis was then completed with conditional logistic regression.

Researchers found that habitual Chinese green tea drinkers (regardless of when they started drinking the tea) had a lower risk of stomach cancer than their non tea drinking counterparts. They reasoned that the green tea may disrupt gastric carcinogenesis at both the intermediate and the late stages and that the major polyphenol in green tea extracts, also known as epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC), positively effects stomach cancer and also protects a number of organs in the digestive tract.

In 2004, a research team from Harvard Medical School worked on and expanded the premise of the Shanghai study. They reported that the epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) in Green Tea impairs the growth and reproduction of cancer cells (SEG-1 and BIC-1) involved with Barrett’s Esophagus.

Barrett’s Esophagus is a condition in which the stomach throws back stomach acid due to impaired function and often leads to the destruction of the cells that line the esophagus which in turn, increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

Barrett’s Esophagus is a very serious condition often mistaken by sufferers as heartburn. This condition is frequently a precursor to esophageal cancer. Although one of the rarer forms of cancer, esophageal cancer is also one of the more deadly forms of cancer, with a five year survival rate of only 25 percent.

Harvard Medical School researchers found that exposure to ECGC (which is found in green tea) releases proteins which are known to help in repairing DNA damage. This finding has created even more interest in researching the effects of green tea and EGCC on cancer.

In other words, drinking Chinese Green Tea may be a healthy habit to acquire – one, that may prevent and lead to a positive effect on stomach cancer and those suffering from Barrett’s Esophagus.

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