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Could flax seed or even green tea reduce colorectal cancer?

By October 16, 2014 - 3:16am
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Hello Elizabeth,

Welcome to the EmpowHER community.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It is expected to cause about 50,310 deaths during 2014.

The American Institute for Cancer Research's review of global scientific literature found a convincingly lower risk for developing colorectal cancer among individuals who consume a diet high in dietary fiber. Flaxseed is high in dietary fiber.

" Dietary fiber seems to play a role in lowering cancer risk through its ability to provide a feeling of satiation, which could help with weight control. Excess body fat is a cause of seven cancers. Healthful bacteria in the colon may also use dietary fiber to produce substances that protect colon cells.

Studies related to flaxseed also focus on its ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is a form of omega-3 fat that is converted into another omega-3 fat, called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) for short. EPA is a source of protective, anti-inflammatory compounds. Only a small proportion of ALA is converted into EPA; yet the relatively small amounts of flaxseed commonly used in studies have been shown to significantly increase EPA levels."

Green tea contains antioxidants. This leads some researcher to hypothesize that it may prevent the development of certain cancers, including colon cancer. Unlike black tea, green tea is not fermented. Fermentation may reduce the levels of some compounds, such as antioxidants, in the tea.

According to the American Cancer Society, "Green tea contains chemicals known as polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. The major group of polyphenols in green tea are called catechins, and the most important catechin seems to be epigallocatechin gallate (sometimes called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG). EGCG may help cause certain types of cancer cells to die in much the same way that normal cells do. This effect is important because cancer cells are different from normal cells in that they do not die when they should—they continue to grow and spread.

Many laboratory studies have shown green tea acts against cancer cells in cell cultures. Test tube studies have suggested that compounds in the tea may help stop new blood vessels from forming, thereby cutting off the supply of blood to cancer cells. It is tempting to assume that it may therefore help prevent some cancers, but results of studies in humans have been mixed."


October 16, 2014 - 8:25am
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