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Can Green Tea Really Battle Cancer?

A study published in the June 2009 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that active compounds in green tea, called polyphenols, may lower the risk of prostate cancer and slow the progression of the disease.

Polyphenols are compounds found naturally in plants and fruit. They have strong antioxidant properties which allow them to neutralize destructive free radicals and decrease oxidation damage in the body.

Louisiana State researchers recruited 26 men aged 41 to 72 for the study. The participants were all scheduled to have radical prostatectomies.

A radical prostatectomy is an operation performed on prostate cancer patients which involves removing the prostate gland and the tissue surrounding it.

Each man took four capsules of Polyphenon E, the equivalent of drinking 12 cups of green tea, for an average of 35 days through the day before surgery.

At the end of the supplementation period, the researchers observed significant reductions (up to 30%) in a number of prostate cancer indicators including serum levels of PSA, HGF, and VEGF.  Few side effects were reported.

The researchers note that these findings support a potential role for tea polyphenols in the treatment or prevention of prostate cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in green tea have already been shown to decrease the risk of certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases as well as helping to balance blood sugar levels.

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