EGCG improves the level of cancer preventing detoxification enzymes in our body

August 22, 2007

People with lower levels of particular antioxidant-detoxification enzymes have a higher risk of developing cancer when exposed to chemicals. This is a major reason why many smokers develop lung cancer, bladder cancer, or even breast cancer and some smokers are better protected. One major category of these sometimes missing enzymes is GSTs.

In countries that consume Green Tea as part of the daily diet there tends to be a lower number of people who develop cancer; this has been shown in epidemiological research performed in countries including Japan and China.

GST stands for a group of enzymes known as Glutathione-S-Transferase enzymes. These enzymes use the powerful antioxidant Glutathione to inhibit toxins and GSTs have many beneficial effects. GSTs are detoxification enzymes that convert toxic compounds into substances that are much less harmful to the human body and they also facilitate their removal. GSTs transform a wide range of toxins to less harmful and even inactive substances. The toxins they protect us from include a vast array of cancer causing chemicals, synthetic xenobiotics, auto exhaust pollutants, tobacco carcinogens, pesticides, drugs and drug metabolites, and many oxidizing free radicals including peroxides.

In this study, scientists at the University of Arizona, Tucson and the National Cancer Institute placed 42 healthy volunteers on a tea-free diet for four weeks; this included abstinence from tea related products and supplements. For the next four-week period they were given a standardized Green Tea supplement supplying a total of 800mg of EGCG per day on an empty stomach. EGCG improved the level of GSTs in blood lymphocytes by almost 20%. However, in subjects with the lowest levels of GSTs, those most at risk from toxin exposure, EGCG improved the level of GSTs by 80%. The study appears in the August 1st, 2007 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.