Green Tea Inhibits CancerFor many years, green tea has been associated with positive health benefits. In a study by researchers at Purdue University, the nature of these benefits was codified. The researchers found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a compound found in the tea, inhibited the growth of cancer cells. The compound also killed cancer cells without causing harm to healthy tissue. This is one of the first studies to provide a direct link between epigallocatechin gallate and cancer inhibition.
Green tea leaves are potent in EGCg. The study suggests that consumption of four to five cups of green tea may slow cancer. Previous studies have found a lower incidence of cancer in those who consume this amount of green tea but the exact compound that produced this cancer inhibition was unknown.
All tea comes from the same botanical source. Unlike other types of tea, green tea is processed differently. In green tea, the leaves are not allowed to oxidize but instead are steamed. This process allows the natural ingredients in the leaves to be preserved. Other types of tea were not nearly as successful as green tea in inhibiting the cancerous cells. Green tea was approximately ten times more potent than the other types.
Quinol oxidase or NOX is the enzyme that is inhibited by EGCg. NOX is present in cancer cells and is required for growth in cancer cells as well as normal cells. Under normal conditions, cells only express NOX due to hormonal stimulation. Cancerous cells, however, express NOX all of the time. The researchers found that, at certain levels, EGCg inhibited NOX on cancerous cells and not on normal cells. By limiting the growth and development of the cancerous cells, the cells did not grow to the required minimum size to divide and cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) occurred.
The scientists want to expand on these studies and determine the exact mechanism of NOX inhibition. At this point, the scientists are beginning to understand the initial inhibitive effects of EGCg but further research is warranted to pin down the exact mechanisms.
Green Tea and Bone HealthOther research studies indicate that green tea can improve bone health by promoting bone formation and inhibiting bone deterioration. EGCg was found to heighten the activity of enzymes that promote bone growth and help to strengthen bones. EGCg was also shown to help prevent bone deterioration by inhibiting certain cells that weaken bones. The researchers hope that information gained from the study can be used to develop future treatments for osteoporosis and other bone maladies.
Green Tea and Autoimmune DiseaseResearch from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University suggests that a compound found in green tea can help suppress autoimmune disease. The compound EGCg improves immune function by increasing the number of immune system cells known as regulatory T cells. Regulatory T cells help to keep the immune system in check by preventing the destruction of normal healthy cells.
The natural compound found in green tea could be a good substitute for pharmaceutical drugs that also help improve immune function. These drugs however, lead to problems of toxicity. While studies with EGCg have shown that its effects are not as powerful as some pharmaceutical drugs, the researchers have little concern about its use long-term or its toxicity.
Green Tea and Gum HealthResearchers claim that green tea can improve teeth and gum health. Studies suggest that drinking green tea regularly can reduce your chances of developing periodontal disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea contains an antioxidant that interferes with the inflammatory response associated with periodontal disease. Just one cup a day is all you need to improve your dental health and reduce your risk of periodontal disease.
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