As a student at one of the largest universities in the country, I cannot help but notice other people while walking to class or studying on a bench in the hall. Some students rush to class while scrolling through their favorite play list, while others choose to kill time between classes by text messaging or talking on the phone; but one noticeable fact about most of the students on campus is that nearly everyone carries something to drink. Prior to last fall and this spring semester I noticed more people drinking water, but recently I have seen many consuming green tea. With numerous positive health benefits associated with green tea, it is no surprise to see more people choosing this healthy beverage, but one question still lingers – Does green tea positively affect the health of all consumers?
Some studies suggest that green tea is associated in killing cancerous cells, but new research from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles proposes that the anti-oxidant, EGCG can inactivate a drug used to treat certain types of blood cancer. According to researcher Axel Schonthal, people who take green tea supplements or drink large amounts of tea will completely inactivate the drug Velcade.
Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is a catechin polyphenol that acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. This polyphenol is noted to be effective in inhibiting growth of cancer cells, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and preventing abnormal formation of blood clots. While attempting to discover possible beneficial effects of green tea on cancer treatments, the research team treated cancer infected mice with different combination of Velcade and EGCG. Instead of suppressing tumors in mice, the combination of Velcade and EGCG actually boosts tumor growth.
The team discovered that EGCG interacts with a boronic acid unit in the Velcade molecule and prevents the drug from binding to a target cancer cell. Although the supplement reduces the effectiveness of Velcade, researchers claim that, in moderation, green tea as a drink continues to have many consumer health benefits.
Discussion Question: What other plants or natural food products have many health benefits for its consumers?
Link to Paper Abstract: http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/abstract/blood-2008-07-171389v1
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