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Green Tea Could Prevent Oral Cancer

Extracts from green tea may prevent mouth cancer for people at high risk according to a study published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center study included 41 participants with a condition called oral leukoplakia. Individuals with oral leukoplakia are more likely to develop oral cancer.

Over 35,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the US, and the 5 year survival rate is less than 50%.

The study participants were randomly assigned to receive 500 mg, 750 mg, or 1000 mg (the equivalent of 8 cups of green tea) of a green tea extract or a placebo 3 times daily for 28 months.

By the end of the study period, 15 of the participants had developed mouth cancer.

The researchers observed that nearly 60% of the participants taking the two highest doses of the green tea extract saw a positive response to the supplementation compared to only 18% of the placebo group.

The researchers also observed improvements in certain biomarkers that predict cancer risk.

The researchers note that further studies with longer time periods are necessary to determine the exact doses and amount of time necessary to see these benefits. However, given the results of this preliminary study, with the right doses, green tea extracts may prove to be a viable natural way to prevent mouth cancer.

Green tea has been associated with a number of health benefits, including heart health and reduction in Alzheimer's risk. These benefits are often attributed to naturally occurring antioxidants in tea leaves called polyphenols.

These antioxidants protect our cells from dangerous free radicals and a recent study even found that the cells of regular tea drinkers actually have a younger biological age than non tea drinkers.

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