News Stories

Why Asians Get So Old & Wise

They drink green tea! Researcher have discovered that a major ingredient in green tea prevents cancer and Alzheimer's disease. China and other Asian countries, where the most green tea is consumed, are well known for paying attention to the wisdom of their elders.

Researchers at the University of South Florida have found that green tea may protect the brain against the ravages of Alzheimer?s disease. In an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers report that a component of green tea prevented Alzheimer's-like damage in the brains of mice genetically programmed to develop the disease. This component has also been widely studied for its reported protection against certain cancers.

The component, known as EGCG, decreases production of the Alzheimer?s-related protein, beta-amyloid, which can accumulate abnormally in the brain and lead to nerve damage and memory loss. After treating Alzheimer's mice for several months with daily injections of pure EGCG, the researchers observed a dramatic decrease of 54% in brain-clogging Alzheimer's plaques.

Green tea contains many antioxidants, including those known as flavonoids that protect against free radical damage to the brain. Coffee and brightly colored fruits and vegetables also contain flavonoids, although researchers think it's better to take a concentrated green tea pill than to rely on drinking the beverage. Humans need 1500 to 1600 mg of EGCG daily to approximate the injection dosage that benefited the Alzheimer's mice.

Another study, on bladder cancer cells, showed that green tea extract has great potential as an anti-cancer agent. Doctors are trying to find a way to target only the cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. Chemotherapy and radiology, the treatments now used, target all cells in the affected areas.

An article published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research uncovered more about how green tea extract works to counteract the development of cancer. Cancer researcher JianYu Rao says, "Our study adds a new dimension in understanding the mechanisms of green tea extract. If we knew exactly how it works to inhibit the development of cancer, we could figure out more precisely which cancer patients might benefit from taking it."

Studies have suggested that green tea extract induces death in cancer cells, as well as inhibiting the development of an independent blood supply that cancers develop so they can grow and spread.

When a human moves, the muscles and skeletal structure operate together to facilitate that movement. For cancer to grow and spread, the malignant cells must be able to move too. The cell movement depends on complex signaling pathways, allowing cancer cells to move through the body and invade other healthy cells and eventually other organs. Green tea extract makes cancer cells bind together more closely, inhibiting their mobility.

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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