Monday, June 15, 2009

Green Tea Can Catechins Fight Cancer?

First of all we should look at what catechins are. Catechins are a class of polyhenol present in high concentration in green tea. They are what make it special. They make up the bulk of green tea's antioxidants, and therefore its healing potential. The catechins were discovered when curious epidemiologists in the 1970s wondered why people who lived in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture had much lower rates of cancer than other Japanese.

Moreover, when comparing the lung cancer rates in Japan to those of the United States, they were stirred to see that even though Japanese smoked nearly twice as many cigarettes as Americans, they had only about half the amount of lung cancer. The average life span was also higher by 7.2 years for the Japanese. While investigating the question of whether or not green tea protected against lung cancer, scientists at the Naylor Dana Institute for Disease Prevention in New York gave a green tea solution to a group of mice for two weeks.

Then, while continuing with giving the mice the solution, they also injected the mice with NNK, a potent carinogen found in cigarette smoke, three times a week for the next ten weeks. Another group of mice received the same injections, without being given green tea. At the end of the ten weeks, the results showed that the mice that had not been given green tea developed an average of 22.5 lung tumors per mouse. The mice that had been given green tea only developed 12.2 tumors per mouse, which translates into a 45% reduction in cancerous tumors.

Pretty amazing, isn't it? However, human studies haven't shown same compelling results, probably due to such factors as variances in diet, environments, and populations. The matter is very complex and an experiment can take many years of research, before any conclusions can be drawn. Research is being carried on right as you are reading this article, and we hope scientists will discover more efficient ways to help people fight against cancer.


lina said...

Though there's not yet scientific approved results for human,I don't mind at all... I've been a greenteaholic already!

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