Just How Does Green Tea Prevent Cancer?

Jon Stout

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We’ve understood for sometime that green tea has many cancer preventing qualities. Study after study has shown that green tea can prevent many types of cancer, and that it is useful in preventing some forms of cancer, as well. Let’s look at some of the research.

  • One study on breast cancer showed that patients who received green tea as an adjunct therapy during chemotherapy showed a higher concentration of chemotherapy drugs in their cancer cells than those who had chemotherapy alone.

  • Another study showed that green tea acted as a scavenger against skin cancer cells, whether taken orally or applied to the skin.

  • A third study looked at post menopausal women who drank green tea, compared to those who drank black tea and those who were not tea drinkers at all. This study concluded that green tea, but not black tea, had a significant lowering effect on women’s circulating estrogen level. We know that a high circulating estrogen level after menopause increases the breast cancer risk.

  • A study conducted in China concluded that women who were regular tea drinkers had (meaning that they drank at least one cup of green tea a day for at least six months) a significantly lower risk of biliary tract cancer and gallbladder cancer – even if they had gall bladder disease – than those who did not drink green tea.

  • Another study showed that green tea consumption appears to have the ability to act as a sort of scavenger against a substance called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are a particular form of free radicals that contribute to the development of prostate cancer, when produced in excess. But, the anti-oxidants contained in green tea have the particular abilities to get at these free radicals and eradicate them, preventing them from developing into cancer cells.

    So, as you can see, there’s a lot of research that shows that green tea works, but very little that explains to us exactly how green tea prevents cancer. At least one study, however, has attempted to determine just how green tea works.

    This study, conducted by British and Spanish researchers, found that green tea’s most potent anti-oxidant, EGCG, prevents the growth of cancer cells by binding to a specific enzyme within them. * This study is of particular interest because the enzyme that the tea binds with is one that has been a target for cancer research for years.

    Researchers have identified this enzyme as potentially being able to be targeted by cancer drugs for inhibiting cell growth. In fact, the cancer drug methotrexate works exactly this way.

    However, green tea shows possibly even more promise than methotrexate. Both EGCG and methotrexate bind to healthy and cancerous cells. Methotrexate binds more tightly than EGCG, which causes it to have side effects on healthy cells. Because EGCG does not bind as tightly, EGCG is thought to have fewer side effects to healthy cells.

    Green tea is shown to be more effective in the treatment and prevention of cancer than black tea because it contains approximately five times the level of EGCG as black tea. Though both come from the same plant, green tea retains more of its original anti-oxidants than black tea because it is not fermented. The fermentation process that black tea undergoes changes many of its compounds, among them EGCG. For this reason, it is believed that green tea is the healthiest form.

    If statistics remain as they are today, one in four of us will die from some form of cancer. So, preventing cancer should be of significant importance in all our lives. In addition to drinking green tea, here are some other things you can do to help lower your overall risk of cancer.

    Don’t smoke – Most of us know that smoking causes lung cancer. However, what many people don’t realize is that smoking increases your risk of many other forms of cancer, too.

    Watch your weight – Obesity is a significant risk factor in the development of many types of cancer, too. Maintaining a normal weight can reduce your risk significantly.

    Be sure your diet is anti-oxidant rich – In addition to green tea, fruits and vegetables are also very good sources of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are important to disease prevention because they fight free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are created during the digestive process, and cause diseases when left unchecked over a period of years. Ensuring that you get your daily dose of anti-oxidants prevents the free radicals from taking over.

    Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle contributes to your risk for many diseases, including cancer. Aim for 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week.

    Get Tested – Follow your doctor’s recommendations for routine physicals and screenings. Early detection is so important in so many forms of cancer.

    Cancer is one of the most frightening diseases around. However, there is much that we can do to prevent cancer from invading our lives and our health. So, live a healthy life, see your doctor, and drink your tea!

    Jon M. Stout is the Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea carefully selects the finest rare and orthodox teas, which are processed slowly and handcrafted with extreme care. At their website, you can learn more about their current tea offerings, including their exceptional green tea , white tea, black tea, oolong tea (also known as wu-long and wu long tea ) and chai. Visit goldenmoontea.com for all details concerning the Golden Moon Tea Company's fine line of teas.

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