A study by cell biologist Dr. Stephen Hsu says that compounds, called polyphenols, in green tea activate separate cell pathways -- one in which healthy cells are moved to safety and another in which cancer cells are sent to their death.
This is Hsu's latest finding on green tea's cancer-fighting abilities. His earlier research included the discovery that polyphenols in green tea help eliminate free radicals. These free radicals can alter DNA, leading to mutations and cancer.
He then identified the role of a protein called P-57, which regulates cell growth and differentiation. Hsu found this P-57 protein changes the behavior of healthy cells as the polyphenols target cancer cells.
In this latest study, Hsu discovered the polyphenols actually separate healthy cells containing the P-57 protein from cancer cells, which lack the protein. While the healthy cells are sent to safety, the polyphenols attack the cancer cells.
The polyphenols go after the cancer cells' mitochondria, the main energy source in cells. The destruction of the mitochondria weakens the cancer cells, and eventually leads to their death.
The study was published in a recent issue of General Dentistry.
For more information on the health benefits of green tea and othersources of polyphenols, visit the University of Shizuoka, Hamamatsu College.