Green Tea Reduces Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels





 

New research finds that green tea may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.



 

GREEN TEA REDUCES CHOLESTEROL, BLOOD SUGAR AND INSULIN LEVELS

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the evidence for green tea as a cancer prevention agent is quite mixed, with most (but not all) studies showing little impact on cancer risk or cancer-associated death rates.  Some research studies, however, have suggested that green tea may affect levels of the female sex hormone estrogen in ways that could potentially reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  However, most of the research in this area has not been in the form of prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical research, which is considered the “gold standard” method of conducting clinical research.

A newly published prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluated 103 postmenopausal women, and their response to green tea supplements.  This study appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

In this study, the women volunteers were randomly divided into three groups.  One group received 400 milligrams (mg) of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) per day, for two months.  (EGCG is considered the most active ingredient in green tea.)  The second group of women received 800 mg of EGCG per day, also for two months.  The third group, which served as this study’s control group, received placebo (sugar) capsules that appeared identical to the EGCG capsules.  Neither the female volunteers nor the study nurses who dispensed the capsules to these study volunteers knew which group each woman had been randomized into.

Repeated measurements of urine levels of EGCG were performed, and blood levels of estrogen, testosterone (the primary male sex hormone), cholesterol, glucose (blood sugar), insulin, and growth factors were tested on all of the 103 study volunteers throughout the course of this study.

The results of this innovative study revealed that green tea supplements had no apparent effect on the levels of estrogen and testosterone in the blood of these postmenopausal research volunteers, which suggests that any potential breast cancer prevention effects associated with EGCG are probably unrelated to sex hormone levels.  However, while EGCG had no apparent impact on sex hormone levels, LDL-cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) levels significantly decreased among the women who were secretly randomized to receive EGCG supplements.  Additionally, blood levels of glucose and insulin, which are linked to diabetes risk, also significantly declined in the two groups of women who received EGCG supplements.  (Diabetes, itself, is a powerful risk factor for developing cancer.)

While green tea supplementation had no discernible effect on the levels of male and female sex hormones in the blood of the postmenopausal women participating in this study, EGCG supplementation was observed to significantly reduce LDL-cholesterol, glucose, and insulin levels in these women.  Therefore, while the impact of green tea on breast cancer risk remains unclear at this time, the results of this clinical research study suggest a potential clinical role for green tea in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are, like cancer, two of the great killers of modern humans.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 









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Green Tea May Prevent Colon and Rectal Cancer


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A large new public health research study from China suggests that drinking green tea at least 3 times per week may cut colorectal cancer risk in half, but only among nonsmokers.



GREEN TEA MAY PREVENT COLON AND RECTAL CANCER

As I have written about in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, green tea has been consumed for several thousand years now, and the health benefits attributed to this ancient beverage have been numerous. Unfortunately, the published research findings regarding green tea’s claimed health benefits continue to be quite contradictory, including in the area of cancer prevention research.

A newly published public health study from China, which appears in the journal Carcinogenesis, adds to previous studies that have suggested a favorable role for green tea in cancer prevention. In this very large prospective public health study, 60,567 Chinese men (ages 40 to 74 years) were followed for an average of about 5 years. The incidence of new colorectal cancers was assessed in this very large cohort of research volunteers, and the consumption of green tea was assessed as a potential factor in the incidence of colorectal cancer among these men.

In this huge prospective public health study, the regular consumption of green tea (defined as green tea consumption at least 3 times per week, and for more than 6 consecutive months) was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. However, this observed colorectal cancer prevention benefit was limited to nonsmokers, as green tea consumption appeared to have no beneficial effect on colorectal cancer risk among men who smoked.

Among nonsmoking men, the regular consumption of green tea was associated with a very impressive 46 percent reduction in the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Importantly, higher reported levels of green tea intake were associated with correspondingly greater reductions in colorectal cancer risk (but, once again, only in nonsmokers). This “dose-response” relationship is a very important consideration, because any true cancer prevention effect by green tea should, indeed, exhibit this kind of dose-dependent impact on cancer risk reduction.

While only a large-scale prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical research trial can definitively prove whether or not regular green tea consumption can prevent colorectal cancer, the results of this very large prospective public health study suggest that green tea may indeed have an important role to play in colorectal cancer prevention.


For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Green Tea Significantly Reduces LDL (Bad Cholesterol)

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“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

GREEN TEA SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES LDL (BAD CHOLESTEROL)

The cultivation and consumption of tea has continued, uninterrupted, for at least 12,000 years, based upon documentation from China.  Today, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage throughout the world other than water.  As I discuss in detail in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a lot of health claims have been made for green tea, including a decrease in the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  However, the available clinical and laboratory research data for green tea, unfortunately, includes multiple contradictory findings for these and other health-related claims.

As with most of the available disease prevention research that has been published so far, the majority of research data supporting beneficial health effects for green tea has been in the form of public health studies that rely upon dietary surveys or other research methodologies that produce low-level clinical research data. For this reason, new clinical research studies that rely upon prospective, randomized methods of conducting research, and which generate more valid and predictive data than survey-based studies, are essential in order to better understand the potential health benefits of green tea, if any.

A newly published paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers important information about the potential health benefits of green tea, based upon a comprehensive analysis of all previously published prospective randomized clinical research trials looking at the effects of green tea consumption on blood lipids (e.g., total cholesterol; LDL-cholesterol, also known as the “bad cholesterol;” and HDL-cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol”). A total of 14 prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research studies were identified and analyzed in this comprehensive meta-analysis.

In this meta-analysis, green tea consumption, in the form of either a tea beverage or a green tea extract, was found to significantly and consistently reduce blood levels of total cholesterol (by an average of 7.2 mg/dL) and LDL-cholesterol (by an average of 2.2 mg/dL). At the same time, green tea consumption did not significantly affect blood levels of HDL-cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”). Thus, this important meta-analysis study provides powerful, high-level research evidence that green tea does indeed significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. These effects of green tea on total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels are the same primary effects of the enormously popular statin drugs, and which have been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and stroke.

This is a powerful research study on the effects of green tea consumption on lipid profiles, because it is based solely upon data from high-level research studies, rather than the much more commonly published (and less expensive) survey-based public health studies that make up the majority of research in disease prevention.  I have, for many years now, included green tea in my diet, and while the impact of green tea, if any, on cancer risk is still open to debate, studies such as this one provide compelling evidence that the regular consumption of green tea may be an important part of a cardiovascular disease prevention lifestyle.



For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Green Tea and Skin Health

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



GREEN TEA AND SKIN HEALTH

 

In our youth-obsessed culture, there are countless creams, lotions, vitamins, herbal remedies, and personal care devices that have been advertised as rejuvenators of aging skin.  Unfortunately, very few of these skin anti-aging remedies are supported by any rigorous clinical or laboratory research data.  Now, a new prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical research study strongly suggests that antioxidant polyphenols from green tea may actually help to protect skin against damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, and may also help to improve overall skin quality.

In this new clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of The Journal of Nutrition, 60 adult female volunteers were randomized into either a control group or an interventional group. The women in the intervention group consumed a beverage fortified with green tea polyphenols (1,402 milligrams of green tea catechins per day), while the women in the control group consumed a beverage that was identical in appearance but which did not contain any green tea polyphenols. Skin protection against UV light damage, skin structure, and skin function were then tested in all of these women at the time they began the study, 6 weeks into the study, and once again 12 weeks into the study.

Skin testing with UV light exposure sufficient to cause redness of normal unprotected skin was performed in both groups of women. (This “erythema response” is a sign of acute UV-induced skin injury.) In the interventional group of women volunteers, skin redness in response to a standard dose of UV light decreased by 16 percent at 6 weeks, and by 25 percent at 12 weeks. Additionally, the elasticity, roughness, scaling, density, and water content of the skin all improved during the course of this study among the women who had been secretly randomized to receive daily green tea polyphenol supplements (when compared to the women in the control group who received the placebo beverage). Daily green tea polyphenol consumption was also shown to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the skin, with maximal blood flow improvement occurring about 30 minutes following green tea polyphenol consumption.

In summary, the daily consumption of green tea catechins was shown, in this innovative prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, to significantly improve the skin’s injury response to UV light exposure, and also appeared to significantly improve several important clinical aspects of overall skin quality. In addition to promoting healthier and more youthful appearing skin, green tea polyphenols, as I have discussed in previous columns (and in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race), have also been linked to improved cardiovascular health, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Hesperidin in Orange Juice Improves Hypertension and Arterial Function

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


HESPERIDIN IN ORANGE JUICE IMPROVES

HYPERTENSION AND ARTERIAL FUNCTION

 

Polyphenols are chemical compounds that are found in most of the plant-based foods that we commonly eat.  As I discuss in detail in my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, some polyphenolic compounds, such as green tea flavonoids, soy-based isoflavones, quercetin, curcumin, and resveratrol, among other polyphenols, may possess important cancer prevention properties.  There is also abundant research data suggesting that diets rich in certain natural dietary polyphenols may be associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well.

Hesperidin, which is a flavonoid polyphenol, is found in a variety of plant-based foods, including oranges, orange juice, and other citrus fruits.  A newly published prospective, randomized, blinded clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, offers intriguing evidence that hesperidin may actually decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients.

In this pilot study, 24 overweight (but otherwise healthy) men, ages 50 to 65 years, were subjected to 4-week intervals in each of three experimental groups.  The first group was assigned to drink 500 ml (17 ounces) of orange juice per day.  The second experimental group drank a “control drink” that appeared similar to orange juice, but which did not contain any actual orange juice.  However, this “sham orange juice” was fortified with hesperidin.  The third group was also assigned to drink the fake orange juice, and to which was added a supplement portrayed (to the study volunteers, and to the research nurses who administered the beverages to these research volunteers) as hesperidin, but which, in fact, was an inert placebo that contained no hesperidin or other polyphenols.

Physical examinations and blood tests were performed before and after the men rotated through each of these three experimental groups.

The findings of this small but high quality clinical research study were quite interesting.  When compared to the control group that consumed the fake orange juice and fake hesperidin supplement, the men in the other two experimental groups experienced a significant reduction in their blood pressure measurements.  Specifically, the diastolic blood pressure was significantly reduced, which suggests that these men experienced an improvement in the elasticity, or compliance, of their arteries, as a direct result of the hesperidin contained in both orange juice and in the non-juice beverage supplemented with hesperidin.  This observation was again confirmed through additional testing that revealed improved vascular compliance associated with hesperidin intake.  Moreover, this significant improvement in arterial compliance was observed only after the ingestion of hesperidin, and disappeared when these same men were retested after undergoing an overnight fast.  (Improved arterial compliance is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and stroke.)

To summarize the findings of this study, hesperidin, when taken in the form of either orange juice or as a supplement, appeared to significantly improve arterial elasticity, and lower diastolic blood pressure, in middle-aged overweight men.  While this brief study cannot prove that these observed and transient improvements in arterial compliance subsequently reduced the incidence of cardiovascular disease in these high-risk men, there is abundant data from other research studies linking improved arterial compliance with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease.  A much larger version of this small pilot study should now be repeated, and the volunteers in this larger study need to be followed for a much longer duration of time, before we can say, with certainty, that hesperidin significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.  That being said, the findings of this small but well-conducted, and elegant, randomized, controlled, prospective clinical research study are still quite compelling.

   

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO OUR MANY HEALTH-CONSCIOUS

WEEKLY HEALTH UPDATE” READERS AROUND THE WORLD!

 

PEACE, LOVE, AND GOOD HEALTH TO ALL OF YOU!

 

For a complete discussion of the role of dietary flavonoids and polyphenols in cancer prevention, and other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, now!  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

GIVE  THE  GIFT  OF  HEALTH  THIS  HOLIDAY  SEASON!  For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores! 

On Thanksgiving Day, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com Top 100 Bestseller’s List for Kindle e-books!  On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.



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Coffee, Tea, Caffeine and Brain Cancer Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

COFFEE, TEA, CAFFEINE AND BRAIN CANCER RISK

 

Coffee and tea are widely enjoyed around the world, and both have been the subject of numerous health claims (most of them unproven).  Tea, and green tea in particular, has been the focus of extensive research, with many prior studies suggesting that tea may improve cardiovascular health and, to a much lesser extent, may decrease the risk of some cancers.  Much of the published research regarding coffee has, on the other hand, been focused on trying to disprove purported links between coffee consumption and a potential increase in the risk of some cancers.  (Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of such research has not identified a strong link between moderate coffee consumption and an increased risk of cancer.)

 

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is a huge ongoing prospective multinational public health study, and several of this enormous study’s preliminary results have already been published.  The EPIC study is focused on potential links between diet, nutritional status, lifestyle, and environmental factors and the incidence of cancer (among other chronic diseases). (EPIC is one of the largest studies of diet and health ever undertaken, and has already recruited 520,000 research volunteers in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.)  Now, a new update from this historic public health study suggests that increased coffee and tea consumption may be associated with a decreased incidence of malignant brain tumors.  This new update from the EPIC study appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

 

Following an average duration of follow-up of nearly 9 years, 588 new cases of brain tumors were diagnosed among the EPIC research volunteers.  Gliomas, the most common and most aggressive type of brain tumors that occur in adults, were found to be 34 percent less common among people who drank at least 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of coffee or tea per day.  (Although not statistically significant, this association was also noted to be stronger in men, with a 41 percent lower risk of gliomas in men, as compared to a 26 percent reduction in glioma incidence in women.)

 

Although it is not clear what causes gliomas of the brain, prior public health studies have at least suggested a link between glioma brain tumors and chronic occupational exposure to high-intensity electrical and magnetic fields, and to rubber and plastics manufacturing.  (As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is also some data linking prolonged cell phone use with an increased incidence of gliomas and other brain tumors.) 

 

Other smaller public health studies have also identified an apparent link between increased caffeine intake and a decreased incidence of gliomas, and there is laboratory evidence available suggesting that caffeine may reduce the growth of malignant glioma cells growing in culture dishes.  Thus, these new findings from the giant EPIC study further suggest the possibility that coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages might be able to reduce the risk of gliomas of the brain.

 

 

Click the following link to join Dr. Wascher on Facebook


 

GIVE THE GIFT OF HEALTH THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.  For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!



 

Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 

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Green Tea Epicatechin Reduces Heart Damage & CHF

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


GREEN TEA EPICATECHIN REDUCE HEART DAMAGE & CHF

Epicatechin is a member of a group of dietary antioxidants known as flavonoids.  Epicatechin is found in a variety of plant-based foods, but is particularly abundant in green tea and dark chocolate. 

Regular readers of this column are already familiar with previous research studies suggesting that green tea flavonoids, including epicatechin, have been linked to a potential decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as decreased blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension).  Now, an innovative new laboratory research study has suggested that daily epicatechin supplements may dramatically reduce heart damage, and the risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), following heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, laboratory rats underwent surgical blockage of their main coronary artery, which reproduces the acute blockage of human coronary arteries that cause heart attacks (myocardial infarctions).  In one group of rats, daily oral supplements of epicatechin (1 mg/kg per day) were started prior to tying off the rats’ coronary arteries, and were continued after coronary artery ligation.  In a second group of “control” rats, daily water supplements (without epicatechin) were started 10 days prior to coronary artery ligation.  Yet another “control group” of rats underwent “sham surgery,” wherein the chest wall was surgically opened (as with the other two groups of rats), but the coronary arteries were not tied off.  In this group of rats, daily epicatechin supplements were also started 10 days before their sham operations were performed.

When the hearts of these laboratory animals were evaluated 48 hours after their surgically induced heart attacks, the animals that had received daily epicatechin supplements (before and after coronary artery ligation) were found to have 52 percent less permanently damaged heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the animals that received only daily “placebo” water supplements.  Moreover, these “control” animals, that underwent coronary artery ligation but did not receive epicatechin supplements, were observed to develop signs of CHF, as was expected, following the surgical induction of a massive heart attack.  Amazingly, the animals that were pretreated with epicatechin prior to surgical ligation of the main coronary artery did not display evidence of CHF (these animals’ heart function did not significantly differ from that of the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries tied off)!

At 3 weeks after coronary artery ligation, the rats that had received epicatechin supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, had, on average, a 33 percent decrease in the extent of dead heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the “placebo control” animals that received only water supplements (but no epicatechin) before and after coronary artery ligation.  Once again, there was a significant incidence of CHF in the rats that received only water supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, 3 weeks after surgical induction of myocardial infarction, while the animals that received epicatechin supplements in addition to coronary artery ligation retained normal heart function (similar to what was observed in the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries ligated).

 

This is quite an amazing research study, as the protective effects of daily epicatechin supplementation following ligation of the main coronary artery in rats was profoundly significant, and essentially prevented the onset of CHF in these laboratory animals.  If epicatechin was to be shown to have similar “cardio-protective” effects in humans, then this would enormously increase the potential role of epicatechin, and other related green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease!Fortunately, there are several clinical research studies that are evaluating the potential cardio-protective effects of epicatechins, and other green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in patients with elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and other conditions that are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.  (At least one other study is also evaluating these same dietary flavonoids in patients who already have CHF.)

Meanwhile, green tea is well tolerated by most people, and if there are no preexisting medical illnesses that prevent you from drinking green tea, then a few cups or glasses of green tea a day may help to decrease your risk of heart attack and CHF.  (As always, however, I must remind readers that laboratory experiments with rats and mice often do not translate to human beings once the same treatments are evaluated in high-quality prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research trials with human volunteers.)

 

To learn more about the role of green tea, dark chocolate, epicatechin, and other dietary flavonoids in the prevention of cancer, look for the publication of my new landmark book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in the summer of this year.



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 1000,000 new and returning readers who visit our premier global health information website every month.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.



 

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