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Green Tea May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Drink to Your Health

Scientists believe that green tea may contain cancer-fighting properties

While it’s long been believed that drinking green tea carries many health benefits, including cancer-fighting properties, scientists have been in disagreement almost equally as long as to the accuracy of these claims. Last week, however, researchers at Rutgers University reported breakthrough findings regarding the use of a standardized green tea polyphenol preparation (Polyphenon E) to prevent colon cancer at the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Our findings show that rats fed a diet containing Polyphenon E…are less than half as likely to develop colon cancer,” said Dr. Hang Xiao of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers. These results corroborate earlier findings that showed that the high number of green tea drinkers in Shanghai, China, was related to that region’s lower colon cancer rates.

In contrast, green tea is the least popular non-alcoholic beverage in the United States, according to a study by the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Jasmine green tea pearls

In the recent Rutgers study, two groups of rats were treated with azoxymethane, which has been shown to generate colorectal tumors in rats that correspond with colorectal cancer in humans. Half the rats were then given a 0.24 percent solution of Polyphenon E — the equivalent of about four to six cups of green tea a day. The rats treated with the green tea preparation developed 55 percent fewer tumors than the control group rats, while the tumors that did develop in the green tea-treated rats were 45 percent smaller and had a significantly lower incidence of malignancy. Moreover, the rats who had been given green tea weighed about five percent less than those in the control group, further corroborating an earlier study that showed that green tea polyphenols block the absorption of fat into the body in mice.

Xiao and his colleagues believe that these findings will pave the way for clinical trials with green tea polyphenols in humans. Until then, it's yet another reason for Americans to go green.


(Updated: 09/24/12 DL)

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