Can Green Tea Help in Breast Cancer Prevention?
Green tea benefits have been widely publicized in the media lately- with one headline particularly- the claim of one of the chemicals found in green tea to be a powerful defense against breast cancer.
Camellia sinesis is the plant which the green tea leaves are derived from. The plant is a native Asian plant, and has been a popular beverage and is the second most consumed beverage in the world. The Chinese have used green tea for medicinal purposes for decades- for good reason. Take a look at the benefits of green tea, which might just bring you closer to an understanding for the claim that it just may be the defense women need to arm themselves against breast cancer.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Green tea polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that protect the cells in the body from free radicals. Free radicals cause the body damage as they are highly reactive molecules that are sensitive to aging and chemicals in the environment, and can lead to cancer development.
Green Tea and Antioxidants
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant that is almost exclusive to green tea. There is an awful lot of media hype about this antioxidant, and to date, researchers are reporting conflicting results in its abilities to fight or prevent cancer.
University of Mississippi Medical Center researcher performed one quite promising study in 2008 on laboratory mice. One group of female mice was given EGCG in drinking water while the other group was given plain drinking water. Later, each mouse was injected with breast cancer cells. In the mice that drank the water with EGCG their tumors were 66% smaller than those that drank plain drinking water. Researchers noted that the tumors of the mice that drank EGCG drinking water seemed to have less of a blood supply to their tumors, which suggests that the antioxidant inhibits the supply of blood to cancer cells.
While there have been various studies performed, most of these studies are focused on whether green tea does prevent cancer in Asians that have drank the tea for life, and whether it does help to inhibit disease growth. The results of the studies have been mixed, and more studies are being conducted.
What Does this Study Mean for You?
The first thing to understand is that the mice ingested high amounts of EGCG which- for a human, would equal about 15 to 3 cups of tea each day for a period of five weeks.
Aside from the potential to fight cancer, there is evidence that green tea leaves lowers bad cholesterol and helps to improve the function of the immune system. University of Michigan Health System researchers discovered that arthritis and joint damage as well as inflammation are restricted due to EGCG inhibiting the production of the molecules in the body’s immune system.
For all of us that are concerned about or suffer from cancer, the results look promising. We know the consumption of green tea is safe- and we know that it is easy to find. As to whether or not it helps to prevent certain forms of cancer, such as, breast cancer, it is too soon to say. But, as all us Green Tea Hawaii drinkers are aware of- there is something in the tea that DOES help you to feel as though you’ve reached overall wellness, and let’s hope there is a connection.