Green Tea Extract Benefits for Cancer: Can Antioxidants Help Combat Cancer?

Green tea is being studied by the medical community to determine its impact on fighting cancer, with initial studies finding that extracts from the tea may slow cancer growth.

The American Institute for Cancer Research said studies have shown that antioxidants in green tea, including polyphenols and flavonoids, and specifically a type of flavonoid called catechins, may be cancer-fighting agents.

Laboratory studies found that green tea, which has three time the catechins as black tea, slowed or prevented cancer development in several types of cancer, including liver, breast and colon cancer, AICR said. Those studies have not been replicated outside the laboratory, but additional research is being done.

Another possible cancer-fighting component of green tea is epigallocatechin gallate, abbreviated EGCG. A 2014 study found that EGCG changed the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells.

“The study is significant because there is a widely held belief among scientists that to treat cancer you have to use molecular mechanisms. Now there is a new possibility — change the metabolic system,” Medical News Today said.

“By explaining how green tea’s active component could prevent cancer, this study will open the door to a whole new area of cancer research and help us understand how other foods can prevent cancer or slow the growth of cancerous cells,” the study’s researcher Dr. Wai-Nang Lee told Medical News.

Other studies cited by Medical News found that EGCG, taken through an IV that introduced the component directly to tumors, caused “two-thirds of them to shrink or disappear within one month.”

The National Cancer Institute pointed out that while studies of the effects of antioxidants extracted from green tea are promising, many have only shown efficacy in the laboratory and are inconclusive when applied to people.

“More than 50 epidemiologic studies of the association between tea consumption and cancer risk have been published since 2006. The results of these studies have often been inconsistent, but some have linked tea consumption to reduced risks of cancers of the colon, breast, ovary, prostate, and lung (6, 25–57),” the Cancer Institute said. “The inconsistent results may be due to variables such as differences in tea preparation and consumption, the types of tea studied (green, black, or both), the methods of tea production, the bioavailability of tea compounds, genetic variation in how people respond to tea consumption, the concomitant use of tobacco and alcohol, and other lifestyle factors that may influence a person’s risk of developing cancer, such as physical activity or weight status.”

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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