Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is Green Tea Really an Anti-Cancer Miracle?

If you’ve had cancer, or a precancerous condition, it’s time to talk with your doctor about using green tea extract. More and more research is showing that green tea extract can slow the progression of cancer. It doesn’t work for all cancers, but it seems to have a significant effect on some types. Its effect may even depend on genetic markers and hormone sensitivities associated with your type of cancer.

Some of the cancers that green tea can face down include prostate, esophageal, bladder, cervical, pancreatic, ovarian, lymphoma and leukemia. Green tea is also active against human papilloma virus (HPV) a sexually transmitted virus associated with cervical and anal cancer and warts.

(Since green tea can also apparently neutralize some chemotherapy treatments, such as Velcade, used for multiple myeloma and mantel cell lymphoma, it’s important that you consult with your doctor if you are undergoing treatment.)

The most recent study, by researchers at Louisiana State University, found that men scheduled for a radical prostatectomy due to cancer who took a green tea extract had a significant reduction in the markers predictive of prostate cancer progression. In some men, the drop was more than 30%!  The reductions were in biochemicals that either  stimulate cancer growth or indicate continued cancer growth. The men took a total of 1.3 grams of tea polyphenols, equivalent to about 12 cups of green tea. (McLarty, J, et al. Cancer Prev Res. 2009 June 19.) [E Pub ahead of print.]

Even though this was a small study, other evidence suggests that green tea can take on cancer. One study found that men with high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia — cellular changes that often lead to cancer — who took green tea catechins 200 mg three times daily for a year, had a reduced risk of progression to prostate cancer. (Bettuzzi S,  et al. Cancer Res .2006;66:1234-40.)

Polyphenols (catechins, such as EGCG) in tea appear to protect cells from DNA damage that can promote cancer. Animal research suggests that the EGCG in green tea may prevent new blood vessel growth in tumors, inhibit tumor cell proliferation, and induce death in cancer cells in at least two different ways.

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Green tea extract can be an important part of an anti-cancer arsenal. For general prevention, we recommend about 450 mg a day of a standardized green tea extract. Unlike brewed tea and non-standardized green tea extracts, our formula provides consistently high amounts of green tea’s most active constituents. If you’re being treated for cancer, it’s best to talk with your doctor about dosage.


Bottled Tea Comes Up Short in Antioxidant Tests