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Green Tea: Nature's Anti-Cancer Drug?

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A molecule within our bodies called an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is responsible for the way our cells behave. Cigarette smoking and dioxins in the environment can cause these receptor’s to go awry and lead to the formation of cancer cells.

Scientists at Rochester University in the US have discovered that there are chemicals in green tea, which block the receptors, and therefore provide protection against cancer. To test out their theory, they used green tea to cure mice who had been infected with cancer and found that the green tea shut down the AhR receptor.

The chemicals in the tea that are thought to be responsible for this anti-cancer action are called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and are similar to flavonoids that are found in broccoli and red wine, this maybe one of the reasons why broccoli and red wine are good for us.

Studies are currently underway in human subjects and the preliminary findings suggest that green tea is also nature’s anti-cancer drug for us.
The Cancer Research UK charity is involved in the EPIC study of 500,000 people in ten different European countries to find out what impact diet has on the development of cancer. All of the participants were healthy at the start of the investigation and are to be monitored for at least ten years. The results so far show that:

Eating foods rich in vitamin C reduces the risk of dying early from any cause by 20%.

Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables decreases the risk of cancer overall.

Eating lots of fiber reduces bowel, stomach and esophageal (food pipe) cancer.

So swap your cup of coffee for a cup of green tea and have a nice plate of steamed vegetables with your glass of red wine, and you are already beating the odds of getting cancer!

Sources: Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2003, 16 (7), pp 865–872
Cancer Research US

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/

Add a Comment17 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Look, I support that you're trying to "cure cancer" and all, but before you announce to everyone your "breakthrough," please educate yourself about the use of apostrophes; it should be "receptors," not "receptor's." Thanks.

June 23, 2010 - 9:16am

A well thought out and intelligently constructed argument, there!

May 24, 2010 - 4:34am

Yes but a cure is not necessarily permanent. It depends how you look at it. I had hyperacusis for 11 years, had noise therapy and was cured for 6 years following, then it came back and I got rid of it again but I still consider that a cure.

May 14, 2010 - 1:15pm

Anonymous again I see. This article was based on the study I read which mentioned that one receptor so I was writing on that.
No one ever mentioned it being a cure for everything, just as chemo isn't either (a lot of people die after that, including my father). There are some people, however, who are anti anything that isn't a drug and will put down anything natural for the sake of it.

May 14, 2010 - 12:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanna Karpasea-Jones)

Well I don't really care to register for a site with such low quality articles, but my name is Penelope if you must know. A few comments back you said you considered chemotherapy a cure. That is what I was responding to.

May 14, 2010 - 12:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

"I disagree that there aren't any cures for cancer. If chemotherapy results in the person being free of cancer, is that not a cure?"

Doctors never use the word "cure" when describing any kind of cancer. When the cancer becomes undetectable, the word "remission" is used. This is because the cancer could come back at any time. This article is terrible, you really need to research how receptors and cancer works. There is not just one receptor responsible for the development of cancer. If there were, we would all be taking pills that blocked that receptor. I really feel sorry for you if you think this is good.

May 14, 2010 - 12:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

there's just one problem with green tea. it tastes like garbage.

January 25, 2010 - 12:03pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

put some honey (local, if you can) in it. makes it taste a lot better.

April 14, 2010 - 8:35am
EmpowHER Guest

Please remove this article from your website or add a disclaimer. It is inaccurate and misleading. There are many causes to cancer and no "cures", only treatments. "Research has suggested" is a helpful phrase. Research has suggested that leading an overall healthy lifestyle (e.g. eating veggies, exercising, keeping your stomach trim) reduces the risk of cancer. A person can drink green tea every day by the gallon and still get cancer. You unfairly criticized an earlier commenter who called you out on your over-simplification of a scientific article. You said that it's not like you could quote the entire article, but what you could have done is summarize their findings without overgeneralizing them. Take responsibility for your actions and at least add an update that this article may not represent the findings of the study it cites.

P.S. Why should any commenter have to reveal their identity to you? Do you need to know someone's name, address, or email before you can adequately respond to a fair criticism? Does it somehow help you construct a response to be able to write "Dear Anne*" before you continue? Or do you want to Google us to see how qualified we are to criticize you, or possibly "heckle in kind" on our own websites? Point blank: We shouldn't, you don't, it doesn't, and you tell me. *my real name, use it if it helps

January 24, 2010 - 1:52am
(reply to Anonymous)

I disagree that there aren't any cures for cancer. If chemotherapy results in the person being free of cancer, is that not a cure?

Just because things aren't always 100% effective doesn't mean they can't be a cure. Lots of people smoke but not all of them get lung cancer.

Study after study after study has proven that healthy diet etc prevents cancer. Medical professionals state it over and over again and in the UK the NHS have a campaign, 'eat healthy, move more and live longer' - everyone knows that, it is a proven fact.

As far as over-simplifying a scientific article - that's the point. The public do not want to read massively scientific articles. It's written in every day language that is accessable to anyone, not just members of the profession.

January 27, 2010 - 3:29am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.