Green tea blocks lung cancerThursday, May 27, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
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Cancer rates are significantly lower in Asia than in other parts of the world, and high consumption of green tea has been suggested as one of the potential explanations. Laboratory studies have suggested that the polyphenols in green tea can halt the growth of cancer cells, but the results of human studies have been mixed.
In the current study, researchers analyzed green tea consumption, smoking, genetic factors and lung cancer risk in more than 500 people. They found that among non-smokers, those who did not drink tea had five times the lung cancer risk of those who drank at least one cup per day. Among smokers, not drinking green tea was linked to 12 times the cancer risk of those who drank at least one cup per day.
A genetic analysis of all the study participants revealed that a specific variant of the gene known as IGF1 was associated with the correlation between higher tea consumption and lower cancer risk. Among those without this variant, green tea consumption had little effect on cancer risk. This could explain the inconsistent results of prior studies.
Health experts warned that whatever the benefits of green tea might be, they do not outweigh the danger posed by smoking.
"Smoking tobacco fills your lungs with around 80 cancer-causing chemicals," said Yinka Ebo of Cancer Research U.K. "Drinking green tea is not going to compensate for that. Unfortunately, it's not possible to make up for the harm caused by smoking by doing other things right like eating a healthy, balanced diet. The best thing a smoker can do to reduce their risk of lung cancer, and more than a dozen other cancer types, is to quit."
Sources for this story include: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8453628.stm.