Green Tea and Cancer
Scientists and doctors use the term chemoprevention to describe the practice of using naturally occurring compounds like green tea or man-made drugs to slow down or inhibit the development of cancer (carcinogenesis). A recent review was published summarizing the pre-clinical and clinical research on the compounds in green tea and their potential role in helping to ward off cancer. The researchers claimed that compounds in green tea called polyphenols are promising chemoprotective agents.
Antioxidant EGCG in green tea holds promise
The most promising of the compound in green tea extract is, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG for short. It is believed that the EGCG in green tea plays a role in inhibiting the way cancer cells talk to one another. These signal pathways are important in cancer proliferation, transformation, and invasion. Although the research to date has been promising, it is in its infancy. Much more study is required before scientists and doctors can say with any degree of certainty that the effects of green tea have any real clinical significance.
Bottom line is that it will be awhile before scientists can sift through all the data and conduct follow up research before they can be sure that the EGCG in green tea has any protective benefit.
Other health benefits of green tea
As more and more studies are published, there is mounting evidence to support that green tea may provide a number of health-promoting benefits. Studies have shown positive effects in heart health, weight management, blood sugar regulation, and others. However, it is important to note that the claims linking green tea to these benefits have not been approved by the FDA. Until then, you should consider any of these findings as preliminary, and green tea should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.