Green Tea: Powerful Antioxidant, May Prevent Cancer

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Next to coffee and not including water, green tea is the second most popular drink in the world. It is enjoyed by many cultures and has been gaining popularity in the West. When compared to coffee in their respective dry forms, it has more caffeine but when brewed it does contain a lesser amount. Historically, the tea has been used for its medicinal purposes ranging from controlling bleeding to promoting digestion. Many claims have been made about the use of the beverage and the fact that it is made up of various naturally occurring chemicals that promote healing properties in the body. One of these chemical is labeled a polyphenol which was found to have a very potent anti-oxidant known as EGCG. Research has been done on a global scale and has included both animal and human testing. There is some debate worldwide about the health claims that can be directly given the popular beverage. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to allow any direct health claims regarding the substance’s ability to affect disease. As recent as 2006 though, the FDA did allow a derivative of the leaves to be used as a drug. It mentions that “Kunecatechins ointment is indicated for the topical treatment of external genital and perianal warts.” 1

New Research Looks At Green Tea And Cancer Markers

Green tea may reduce the spread of cancer and has been shown to have a “significant reduction in serum markers such as PSA, VGF and VEGF that predict the progression of prostate cancer.” While this study did have some set backs including not controlling other lifestyle changes and factors it does give the popular beverage some merit in its ability to decelerate the progression of this devastating disease. The study introduced one of the aforementioned plant chemicals via a pills into subjects who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men’s test showed that the markers of cancer had been decreased and therefore researchers point to the possibility that the chemical had a positive affect. “This suggests there might be a place for Polyphenon E in the treatment or prevention of prostate cancer, they said.” 2

The study is by no means hard conclusive evidence but it is building the case in favor of using these chemicals in conjunction with other available treatments. This is just another study that should excite researchers and doctors while giving more hope to cancer patients. Minimal negative side effects have been shown, but even the slight possibility of assistance in defeating the disease is welcome. Perhaps a direct correlation is years away from allowing a viable claim, yet this finding merits more research and shows that the benefits of green tea for health should not be discarded. Also of note and interest is the ability of the chemical components to affect cardiovascular disease, cholesterol levels, and arthritis.

Here is my conclusion about it: anti-oxidant and stimulant yes, weight loss probable, potential and needing research is its affect on cancer and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

1.  http://www.fda.gov/cder/foi/label/2006/021902lbl.pdf

2.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154803.php

3. “Tea Polyphenols Decrease Serum Levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen, Hepatocyte Growth Factor, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Prostate Cancer Patients and Inhibit Production of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor In vitro.” McLarty, Jerry, Bigelow, Rebecca L.H., Smith, Mylinh, Elmajian, Don, Ankem, Murali, Cardelli, James A. Cancer Prevention Research, Published Online First on June 19, 2009.

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