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New Insights Into Green Tea’s Ability to Thwart Pancreatic Cancer

Jul. 7, 2014|996 views
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I've been saying for years that green tea is a top superfood. In my opinion, we'd all do well to embrace green tea and incorporate it into our diets on a regular basis. Three to five cups a day appears to be ideal. There are a number of reasons for this.

Epidemiological studies, which look for trends in large populations, have long suggested that green tea may be protective against certain cancers. Some research has suggested, for instance, that women who consume the greatest amount of green tea tend to have the lowest rates of breast cancer. But other studies have been less conclusive. To date, most scientists consider the matter unsettled. But they note that green tea is entirely safe, so there's little down side to drinking the delicate brew, in amounts mentioned above.

One problem has been that scientists have had trouble identifying exactly how green tea might prevent or slow the growth of cancer cells and tumors. Since epidemiological studies can only infer associations—without directly proving causation—scientists are usually reluctant to lend too much credence to the results of these types of studies.

But new research by Los Angeles-based cancer researchers suggests that antioxidant chemicals found in green tea (and nowhere else) may alter metabolic pathways that growing cancer cells depend on, disrupting their growth. The research concerned deadly pancreatic cancer. "Scientists had believed they needed a molecular mechanism to treat cancer," said investigator, Wai-Nang Lee, MD, "but this study shows that they can change the metabolic system and have an impact on cancer." Pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest of cancers. The new research has implications for the future of the war on this and other deadly cancers.

"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."

Boehm K1, Borrelli F, et al. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD005004. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005004.pub2.

Qing-Yi Lu, Lifeng Zhang, Jennifer K. Yee, Vay-Liang W. Go, Wai-Nang Lee. Metabolic consequences of LDHA inhibition by epigallocatechin gallate and oxamate in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells. Metabolomics, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11306-014-0672-8

Tags:  antioxidant, cancer risks, health tips, prevention