Life Extension Update
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Clinical trial finds green tea catechins prevent prostate cancer in high risk men
A team from the University of Parma and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia administered 200 milligrams free caffeine green tea catechins three times per day to 32 men with high grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia, while 30 men with the condition received a placebo. Prostate intraepithelial neoplasia is a premalignant condition of the prostate that becomes cancerous within one year in one-third of those afflicted. Biopsies of the prostate were conducted at six and twelve months.
An average 17 percent drop in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels occurred after 9 months in the group who received catechins. After one year, only one man in the group who received green tea catechins had developed prostate cancer compared to a predictable 9 out of 30 in those who received the placebo No significant side effects were reported.
In previous research, Dr Bettuzzi and colleagues identified a gene involved in apoptosis called Clusterin as possibly influenced by green tea. Apoptosis is the programmed cell death that is one method the body utilizes for destroying undesirable cells. The tea catechin known as EGCG was found to induce apoptosis in cancerous cells while not affecting normal cells.
Dr Bettuzi stated, "Numerous earlier studies, including ours, have demonstrated that green tea catechins, or pure EGCG (a major component of GTCs), inhibited cancer cell growth in laboratory models. We wanted to conduct a clinical trial to find out whether catechins could prevent cancer in men. The answer clearly is yes."
He added, "We still don't know enough about the biological processes leading to prostate cancer. The only thing we know for sure is that prostate cancer is diffuse, related to age and more prevalent in the West. Thus, prevention could be the best way to fight it."
Of all nutritional literature currently in existence relating to prostate cancer (PC), the relationship between lycopene ingestion and the health of the prostate is the clearest. Lycopene consumption been found to decrease not only the risk of PC in multiple studies, but also the risk of breast cancer and pancreatic and stomach cancer, as well as lung cancer.
In these positive studies that correlated lycopene consumption with decreased risk of PC, the lycopene sources were tomato-based products. The richest sources of lycopene in the U.S. diet are ketchup, tomato juice, and pizza sauce; these account for over 80% of the total lycopene intake of Americans. In one study from Athens, Greece, the authors concluded that the incidence of prostate cancer in Greece could be reduced by about 40% if the population increased the consumption of tomatoes, reduced the intake of dairy products, and substituted olive oil for other added lipids. The correlation between increased tomato-based consumption of lycopenes and the decreased risk of PC and other cancers is also found in the laboratory, where serum levels of lycopene are correlated with lycopene intake. The same holds true in studies in which tissue levels of lycopene have been studied in prostate pathology specimens.
Measures to prevent PC must be a routine part of the counsel that general practitioners and internists give their patients. Selenium intake of at least 200 mcg a day should be a consideration in the prevention of PC. Low plasma selenium is associated with a four- to fivefold increased risk of PC. In addition, levels of plasma selenium also decrease with age, resulting in middle-aged to older men being at a higher risk for low selenium levels. Ideally, baseline levels of selenium should be obtained before beginning routine selenium supplementation. It would make sense to begin such a micronutrient and mineral assessment at age 25 and perhaps every 10 years thereafter.
Lycopene may be an important substance in maintaining prostate health. In addition, the strong lipid antioxidant properties of lycopene make it particularly effective in blocking LDL oxidation and protecting against free radical activity on the arterial wall.
Life Extension members were the first to learn about lycopene way back in 1985. Since then, improved tomato extraction methods have given consumers access to supplements that contain greater concentrations of lycopene at lower prices.
Mega Green Tea Extract capsules contain an unprecedented 725 mg of either lightly caffeinated or decaffeinated 93% standardized green tea extracts, which makes it easy to obtain super-potent doses by taking only one of these low-cost capsules per day. Each Mega Green Tea Extract capsule provides 246.5 mg of EGCG…about ten times more than what is being put into commercial multivitamin supplements today.
EGCG functions as an antioxidant that is about 25-100 times more potent than vitamins C and E. One cup of green tea may provide 10-40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant effects that are greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries.
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