Drinking green tea has long been considered to have health benefits ranging from easing arthritis to lowering cholesterol to fighting infections to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers say that the active ingredients in green tea may indeed slow down the progression of prostate cancer. The disease is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.
The study, conducted at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and published in Cancer Prevention Research, an American Association for Cancer Research journal, found capsules made using green tea extracts called polyphenols lowered levels of proteins that tumors use to grow.
Twenty six already diagnosed prostate cancer patients, aged from 41 to 68, each took four capsules a day containing Polythenon E — equal to a dozen cups of green tea — for about a month before they had their prostates removed. The scientists found that levels of three proteins associated with the spread of prostate cancer fell. For some, the drop was as much as 30 percent.
Researchers warn that we are still in the early stages of discovery, that the LSU study is a small one, and that there is lots of work still to be done. Still, they say that green tea and other plant-derived substances are showing the potential for helping prevent certain cancers and for slowing the growth of certain cancers, if not actually being able to shrink tumors.
The American Cancer Society projects prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year in 192,280 men.