Green tea beneficial for oral cancer?
The polyphenols are antioxidants, which work to remove the free radicals (oxidants) which cause the mutation of genes, which may in turn lead to cancerous growth, without harming the normal cells.
The polyphenols can also inhibit the growth and spread of cancerous cells. The mouth's mucous lining must be exposed to 4 to 6 cups of green tea a day(1). Studies have suggested the use of green tea as a beverage or in oral health is likely to be beneficial in helping to prevent oral cancer.(2)
Polyphenols in green tea have been found to induce programmed cell death, called apoptosis, in many types of tumor cells, including oral cancer cells. A study by Hsu et al examined the effects of green tea extracts and green tea polyphenols on normal human keratinocytes and oral cancer cells.
The most potent polyphenol found in green tea is EGCG. Using different assay and measurement techniques, the researchers found that green tea and its constituents selectively induce apoptosis only in oral cancer cells and not in the normal keratinocytes. EGCG was also found to be able to inhibit the growth and invasion of oral cancer cells. The authors state that the clinical applications of green tea polyphenols, including EGCG as an anti-cancer agent, warrant further study. They suggest that the regular consumption of green tea could be beneficial in the prevention of oral cancer.
Green tea beneficial both in the prevention and remission of cancer
The results of research at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta indicated compounds in green tea selectively induced cell death only in oral cancer cells while ignoring normal cells.
The authors of the study conclude that green tea could inhibit, delay or even reverse cancer.
"Green tea appears to be chemopreventative, both before the onset of malignancy and following cancer treatment", states the study titled "Chemoprevention of Oral Cancer by Green Tea".
The study was published in the March/April 2001 issue of the journal "General Dentistry", which is published by the Academy of General Dentistry.
Although the research must be duplicated before green tea is labelled as a public health strategy and a bona-fide anti-cancer agent, lead study author/cell biologist Stephen Hsu said:
"The evidence of benefits appears to be sound, but we need a lot of different groups to agree on this and there is research going on in various places that will help answer that," he said, referring to a human trial at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre involving oral cancer and green tea.
Hsu, whose research was funded by his academic institution, not the tea industry, said while further trials are being conducted, there is no reason why people shouldn't indulge in green tea.
"There are a lot of different brands, but that doesn't appear to make a difference. What does matter is that people choose a high quality tea that is without additives and has not been processed, because the fermentation process reduces the concentration of polyphenols and their beneficial effects."
Green tea comes in both caffeinated and decaffeinated forms.
cancer rates in China are half that of North America
In China, oral cancer rates are 1/2 that of North America, even though smoking rates - a known risk factor for oral cancer - are 3 times higher in China.
The mouth's oxygen-rich environment connects to several blood vessels which provide a perfect habitat to house oral cancer cells, and in turn allows the cancerous cells to multiply quickly. Ingesting or swishing with green tea introduces the tea's polyphenols to the oral cancer cells lining the mouth. For patients, in order to reap green tea's anticancer benefits, the mouth's mucous lining must be exposed to 4 to 6 cups of green tea a day.
Green tea is not just beneficial for cancer
Green tea also appears to be beneficial for heart disease: It lowers cholesterol, reduces platelet aggregation (clumping), and lowers blood pressure, all of which may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease.
Green tea may stimulate the immune system to help defend the body against bacterial infections, including dental plaque.(4) Green tea has anti-bacterial properties and stimulates the production of immune cells.(5,6)
Green tea or green tea extract?
Capsulized extracts of green tea are available, and a typical dosage is 100 to 150 mg 3 times daily of a green tea extract standardized to contain 80% total polyphenols and 50% epigallocatechin gallate. The efficacy of these preparations compared to the consumption of the tea itself is not known at this point. I also like Puritan Pride's special "Buy 1 Get 2 FREE" promotions on green tea liquid extract.
Contraindications for green tea
Green tea contains caffeine, although usually about 4 times less than coffee. Individuals with conditions which may be complicated by high caffeine intake (including insomnia, depression, and pregnancy) should not add green tea to their diet. People taking the class of antidepressant called MAO inhibitors may want to avoid the caffeine in green tea.
I spend a lot of time researching the internet and we found that the most affordable high quality green tea (in bags) on the internet can be found here Green tea extracts in capsules can be found here.
(1Dentalnotes, Winter 2001 pg 1
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