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The Amazing Health Benefits of Green Tea
May 08, 2019 01:32 PM
Green tea is a very versatile health food with many different benefits. Green tea can help regulate your weight and your blood sugar. The caffeine and l-theanine it contains can help improve brain functioning and reduce anxiety symptoms. Green tea bags can be used to repair damage inflicted on your skin by free radicals and UV light. Green tea’s powerful anti-inflammatory effects may even help to reduce the damage to the body and brain from conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
"“Green tea has been a favorite drink of health enthusiasts for decades,” Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., author of the”Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide,” tells Newsmax. “It has also been well studied for its health promoting effects on skin. It’s high in compounds called polyphenols which help eliminate free radical damage and rejuvenate aging skin cells."
Read more: https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/green-tea-health-benefits/2019/03/19/id/907629/
How Much Green Tea Should I Drink Daily?
October 28, 2017 10:14 AM
Green tea has long been linked to various health benefits such as reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Green tea is thought to be good for you do to its concentration of flavonoids and catechins. The antioxidants in green tea also could lower your bad cholesterol. Experts recommend drinking a cup of green tea a few times a day. It is possible to drink too much green tea, and that may block iron absorption or cause irritability from the caffeine.
"An additional benefit for regularly drinking green tea includes a reduced risk for heart disease."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-much-green-tea-should-i-drink-daily/
Is it okay to pair your morning coffee and workout routine?
December 14, 2016 02:59 PM
The views on caffeine are mostly negative. However, a recent study is giving the chemical a little positive light. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Science showed that people who drank some coffee before performing their exercise routine were happier and completed their tasks 4.2 seconds faster, on average. It is important to keep in mind that black coffee is preferred and you should always drink plenty of water during your routine also. This minimizes the amount of sugar you ingest and keeps you from getting dehydrated.
"Research has shown that downing a cup of coffee before you break a sweat can boost your performance significantly."
Fight Inflammation With Inflama-Care - Anti-inflammatory herbal combination
March 22, 2010 09:07 PM
Turmeric / Boswellia Complex
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as great challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient-imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health. These unhealthy lifestyles and environmental changes have set our immune system on overdrive, a state call metabolic inflammation. Planetary Herbals Inflama-Care is a potent, herbal response to these modern challenges.
The Inflammation Cycle
As toxins and stress begin to alter our body chemistry and change the function of vital tissues, our body reacts with metabolic inflammation just as if it were being attacked. This reaction may result in a perpetual cycle of chemical imbalances and suboptimal health. Yet metabolic inflammation is often below the threshold of perception, not noticed or felt for years after its starts. It is only much later that the altered biochemistry and the system imbalances that it generates are noticed.
A Powerful Herbal Blend Inflama-Care helps support the body’s natural response to metabolic inflammation. The main component of the formula is the rhizome of the curcuma species, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (Curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines—inflammation messengers. This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits proinflammatory enzymes, and ginger, an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skull cap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Planetary Herbals presents inflama-Care to help maintain the body’s biochemical balance and integrity. Inflama-care was formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. Thie result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
Best Sugar Balance Svetol (green coffee extract)
May 05, 2006 06:30 PM
Best Sugar Balance featuring Svetol® Svetol® is an extract of green coffee obtained by the use of a traditional patented extraction process from the beans of the species Coffea canephora robusta Pierre. This species is particularly rich in the constituent known as chlorogenic acid. Svetol® green coffee extract contains less than 2% caffeine. The extract is standardized to contain between 45-50% chlorogenic acids.
In vitro (test tube) and in vivo research suggests that chlorogenic acids present in coffee may have the ability to regulate blood sugar concentrations after meals by acting on the intestinal absorption of glucose and improving the body's glucose tolerance. Clinical evidence also suggests that Svetol® green coffee extract may help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level when used as a part of the diet.*
Maintains healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet*
Chlorogenic acid is the major polyphenol compound found in Svetol® green coffee bean extract. In vitro and animal studies have been conducted to determine the potential actions of this polyphenol. Studies report that chlorogenic acid and related compounds have significant antioxidant potential and are responsible for the high reported antioxidant benefit of green coffee. Several studies suggest that consumption of coffee in the diet is one factor that is correlated to the maintenance of healthy neural function and healthy aging. Coffee has also been shown in vitro to suppress the production of various free radicals. The chlorogenic acid content of coffee has been determined to be a major factor in the free radical quenching properties of coffee. A study was conducted to assess the activity of coffee extracts against the production of hydroxyl radicals in an in vitro system. It was found that coffee extracts possessed significant suppressive activity against hydroxyl radicals. Of the compounds assumed to be responsible for this effect, the researchers concluded that the chlorogenic acids played a major role with some contributions from other compounds found in the extract. This compound may also strongly contribute to any potential neuroprotective effects seen with coffee consumption.1
Two further studies highlight a possible mechanism by which chlorogenic acid mediates its antioxidant activity. In one study, the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power) assay was used to measure and compare the iron-reducing capacity of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. It was shown that the chlorogenic acid content of the samples tested was highly correlated with iron-reducing activity in this assay. Moreover, lighter roasted coffee samples (closer in nature to green coffee) had the highest iron-reducing activity. Caffeine did not influence the iron-reducing activity of the coffee samples.2 Iron compounds are known to mediate the production of radicals and often serve as catalysts for their production in the body. A second study shows that chlorogenic acid can bind to and Chelate certain iron compounds, preventing them from catalyzing radical-producing reactions. In this way, chlorogenic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant.3
Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year. The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee Chlorogenic acid and related compounds have a dual effect on the production and suppression of free radicals. In the case of the hydroxyl radical, studies outlined previously suggest that chlorogenic acid suppresses the production of the radical due to its ability to chelate iron compounds, while other studies suggest that chlorogenic acid has direct scavenging effects on the hydroxyl radical.4 Dietary intake of this potent polyphenol may confer multiple benefits to human health.
Several studies further suggest that chlorogenic acid in coffee can have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels when consumed as a part of the diet. A recent study assessed the effects of coffee and tea consumption on glucose tolerance in middle-aged Japanese men. In this study, the relationship between daily intakes of green tea or coffee and glucose tolerance status was measured by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
More than 3,400 men participated in the study in which fasting glucose was measured before and 2 hours after administration of an oral glucose load. A self-administered questionnaire was used to establish daily levels of dietary coffee and green tea consumption over the past year.
The results showed that those individuals who consumed the highest levels of coffee per day had lower fasting glucose levels (by 1.5%) and lower post-test glucose concentrations (4.3% lower) than those who did not consume coffee on a daily basis. In this study, green tea consumption was not associated with any benefits on glucose concentrations.5
It is likely that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee plays a role in supporting healthy glucose metabolism, whereas the role of caffeine is not clear, with some reports suggesting an adverse effect on sugar metabolism.
A second study further confirms an effect of chlorogenic acid at inhibiting the absorption of glucose from the diet. This effect occurs in the small intestine. In this study, nine healthy fasted volunteers consumed 25 grams of glucose in 400 ml of water (the control group), caffeinated coffee, or Decaffeinated coffee. Frequent blood samples were taken over the next 3 hours. It was found that glucose and insulin concentrations were higher 30 minutes after the consumption of caffeinated coffee than with either Decaffeinated coffee or control (water).While caffeine has specific biological effects on raising glucose levels and impacting insulin profiles, chlorogenic acid was shown to have an antagonistic effect on glucose transport. Previous studies have also shown that chlorogenic acid significantly delays glucose uptake from the small intestine.6
RESEARCH ON SVETOL®
Svetol® is a unique extract of Coffea canephora robusta green coffee beans containing between 45 and 50% chlorogenic acids with less than 2% total caffeine concentration. As outlined above, many studies highlight the potential benefits of coffee compounds, including chlorogenic acid, for providing protection against free radicals and promoting healthy glucose metabolism. A number of other potential benefits have been discovered for these compounds. Svetol® has also been the subject of preliminary clinical studies that have shown exciting results.
In a pilot study, the effect of Svetol® on sugar concentrations after meals was evaluated in 15 individuals. In the same trial, the longer-term effects of Svetol® on weight management were also evaluated. Blood sugar concentrations were measured on two separate occasions. Patients were administered an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in which they consumed a standard amount of sugar and had their blood sugar levels measured 1 hour after sugar intake. The first measurement was made on day 1 prior to taking Svetol® and the second OGTT was performed on day 2, after beginning the Svetol® regimen in which one tablet (200 mg per tablet) was administered 3 times during the day. Patients were fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the testing. The results showed that Svetol® was able to reduce blood sugar concentrations in 60% of the subjects. The mean reduction of blood sugar concentration in these individuals was 50%. The treatment was continued following the same regimen for 6 weeks to assess the impact of Svetol® on weight. The average weight loss of the participants was 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) over the treatment period. 7
Based on the studies mentioned above and other related research on the ingredients in Svetol®, scientists have proposed two mechanisms of action whereby Svetol® may influence the metabolism and processing of glucose. The first mechanism seems to be an inhibitory action on glucose absorption from the diet. Svetol® may affect the uptake of glucose in the small intestine by modulating factors needed for sugar absorption.
The second mechanism relates to possible effects of Svetol® in the liver's ability to produce glucose. Chlorogenic acids have been shown in vitro and in animal studies to modulate the effects of certain enzymes in the liver that catalyze the production of glucose. By having this dual effect on sugar absorption and sugar production, Svetol® is an effective product for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels when used as a part of the diet.*
Svetol® is a natural food extract from green coffee beans containing a standardized amount of chlorogenic acid. Studies have shown that chlorogenic acid (up to 500 mg/kg/day) given to pregnant rats from the 5th through 12th day of gestation caused no maternal or fetal mortality and no adverse effects on the nervous system. Chlorogenic acids have also been shown to be non-mutagenic in tests on bacteria such as the Ames test. The LD50 of chlorogenic acids has been determined to be higher than 2500 mg/kg body weight. Svetol® is also extremely low in caffeine, with less than 2% caffeine contained in the extract, and is not expected to have any of caffeine's stimulant effects. Svetol® is extremely safe with no adverse effects having been reported while taking Svetol® at the recommended dosage.7
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1) Daglia M, Racchi M, Papetti A, Lanni C, Govoni S,Gazzani G. In vitro and ex vivo antihydroxyl radical activity of green and roasted coffee. J Agric Food Chem.2004 Mar 24;52(6):1700-4.
2) Moreira DP, Monteiro MC, Ribeiro-Alves M, Donangelo CM, Trugo LC. Contribution of chlorogenic acids to the iron-reducing activity of coffee beverages. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 9;53(5):1399-402.
3) Kono Y, Kashine S,Yoneyama T, Sakamoto Y, Matsui Y, Shibata H. Iron chelation by chlorogenic acid as a natural antioxidant. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1998 Jan;62(1):22-7.
4) Zang LY, Cosma G, Gardner H, Castranova V, Vallyathan V. Effect of chlorogenic acid on hydroxyl radical. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 May;247(1-2):205-10.
5) Yamaji T, Mizoue T, Tabata S, Ogawa S, Yamaguchi K, Shimizu E, Mineshita M, Kono S. Coffee consumption and glucose tolerance status in middle-aged Japanese men.Diabetologia. 2004 Dec;47(12):2145-51. Epub 2004 Dec 15.
6) Johnston KL, Clifford MN, Morgan LM. Coffee acutely modifies gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glucose tolerance in humans: glycemic effects of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):728-33.
7) Berkem.Text on Svetol®.Gardonne, France: November 2005.
Lowering cholesterol safely
July 27, 2005 04:10 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely.
By Kim Vanderlinden, N.D., D.T.C.M.
Atherosclerosis and its complications are major causes of death in the United States and have reached epidemic proportions throughout all of the Western world. Heart disease accounts for 36% of all deaths among Americans and ranks as the number-one killer; stroke; another complication of atherosclerosis; is the third most common cause of death.
Foremost in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease. The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is keeping your total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
Not all cholesterol is bad; it serves many functions in the body, including the manufacture of sex hormones and bile acids. Without cholesterol, many body processed would not function properly.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins. Cholesterol bound to low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while cholesterol bound to high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, while HDL cholesterol actually protects against heart disease.
LDL transports cholesterol to the tissues. HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to the liver for metabolism and excretion from the body. Therefore, the HDL-to-LDL ratio largely determines whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. The risk for heart disease can be reduced dramatically by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that for every one percent increase in HDL levels, the risk for a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Dietary cholesterol is a major risk factor in developing atherosclerosis. The evidence is substantial. However, several studies have shown that a lower dietary cholesterol intake was associated with up to a 37% lower risk of death from any cause, or an increased life expectancy of roughly 3.4 years.
Although dietary cholesterol intake is an important contributor to atherosclerosis, most of the cholesterol in the body is actually manufactured in the liver. Reducing dietary cholesterol alone is not always sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels.
In an attempt to reduce blood cholesterol levels, many physicians are ignoring the need to give dietary recommendations and are instead utilizing drugs as the primary treatment. Using drugs before diet is clearly not the best approach, in terms of both effectiveness and cost. In fact, the Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Cholesterol in Adults clearly states: “Dietary therapy is the primary cholesterol-lowering treatment.”
The drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), prevastin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor) are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The main side effect of these drugs is liver damage. In fact, due to the seriousness of the possible adverse effects on the liver, it is necessary to have periodic blood tests to determine if the drug is harming the liver. Other side effects include: muscle breakdown, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatus, abdominal pain, headache, and skin rash.
The most important first approach to lowering a high cholesterol level is to follow a healthful diet and lifestyle. The dietary changes are simple: Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet; increase consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, grains, and legumes); and lose weight, if necessary. Lifestyle changes include; Regular aerobic exercise; stop smoking; and reduce or eliminate consumption of coffee (both caffeinated and Decaffeinated).
Here are the six key recommendations of U.S. Surgeon General, American Heart Association, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Diet and Health:
When there is a need for additional support to the dietary and lifestyle practices that can lower cholesterol levels, it simply makes more sense to use safer and more effective natural alternatives. When evaluating overall effectiveness, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels must be taken into consideration. When you look at the cost, safety, and effectiveness, it is clear that natural alternatives are substantially superior to standard drug therapy.
Keep in mind that the natural alternatives discussed are, just like the dugs, still best utilized in a comprehensive program that stresses a healthful diet and lifestyle.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, has long been used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin is recommended by the National CholesterolEducation Program as the first “drug” to use to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The safest form of niacin at present is known as inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow. It yields slightly better results than standard niacin, but is much better tolerated, both in terms of flushing and, more importantm long term side effects.
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree that is native to India. Several clinical studies have confirmed that gugulipid has an ability to lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Typically, cholesterol levels will drop 14% to 27% in a four- to twelve-week period, while triglyceride levels will drop from 22% to 30%.
The dosage of gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that gugulipid extracts standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per tablet given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, or both.
Garlic and onions exert numerous beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowering blood lipids and blood pressure. Numerous studies have demonstrated that both garlic and onions are effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously raising HDL-cholesterol levels.
Without question, the best approach to lowering cholesterol levels is through diet and lifestyle modifications. When additional support is require, there are safer and more effective natural alternatives to commonly prescribed drugs.
The goal of therapy, whether natural or synthetic, is to get blood lipid levels down into target ranges as quickly as possible. Once the target range has been achieved, begin reducing the amount of medicine by half, or take it every other day. Recheck your cholesterol levels in one month. If they have stabilized or continued to improve, you may no longer need the medication. If the levels begin to rise again, return to previous dosage.
If you are currently on a cholesterol-lowering drug, you must consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even Decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Double Strength Green Tea Extract
May 13, 2005 11:22 AM