UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.
“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”
As this mitochondrial demise continues, the cancer cell also reduces the expression of anti-oxidant genes, further lowering its defenses.
“So, it’s turning off its mechanism of protection at the same time that EGCG is causing this oxidative stress,” Lambert added.
The EGCG did not cause this reaction in normal cells. In fact, it appeared to increase the protective capabilities of the cell, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the online issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
Read the full article here.
Laying off the sauce and battling it out with The Sugar Demon for thirty days reminded me of a few things. One, I give a damn about how well I care for the body I’ve been given. Two, sugar takes a toll. Too much of it softens you up, and piles up the plaque and insulin in your blood. Three, everything in moderation – even moderation. So now the thirty days are done. I cut down significantly while still enjoying occasional sips and bites here and there.
At this point I can choose to continue on this program – reducing sugars – or resume my usual eating breakfast pastry, drinking wine with dinner and finishing off the day with a bite of salted dark chocolate and a scoop of ice-cream.
For me it’s very difficult to have “just a little bit.” I want all or none. And usually I want all. So I need to find the balance and be at peace with myself. To enjoy food and meals and to be mindful of the choices I make.
I’m not giving up any foods permanently. That’s no fun. Nor realistic. I do plan though to stay alert and remind myself of what self care looks like.
Bye for now,
I had a mammogram yesterday. All the staff wear pink scrubs, even the doctors. It’s a little cute for my taste. I find the whole experience unpleasant at best. But I reminded myself that this is what self-care looks like. It means going for routine check-ups and having an attitude of gratitude for the researchers, scientists, technologists and practitioners who develop these potentially life saving systems. Also for the X-ray tech with warm hands.
I am in a high risk population because of my family history. The doctor asked if I would be willing to meet with the geneticist on staff to determine a numeric statistic of my exact risk. Depending on the number, they will adjust their “observation” of me over the years. I agreed. Guess what? I am in a high risk population. No news there.
She referred me to some healthy guidelines which included drinking in moderation. The “m” word. What does moderation look like? Two glasses instead of three? Wine, but not liquor? “Week-ends and dinner parties, “I suggested. She agreed. “It’s the everyday that’s a problem.” she said.
Drinking more than a glass a day statistically increases your risk because alcohol increases estrogen in the blood. Who knew?I was glad to receive this news during my month of abstinence – ish. It’s easier to imagine restraint when you are already practicing it. If I had been drinking every night at dinner for the last few weeks, learning that is was a real considered risk factor would have been more unsettling. But having already experienced changing my habit made me feel more confident about making a lasting change.
I was surprised they didn’t ask about green tea consumption. The doctor I see is a big fan of daily green tea consumption, especially matcha – because drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer.
So taking off the bottom line means a lot less wine during the week and adding to the top line means drinking more green tea daily. I wondered what the numeric model would project if there was a field for green tea consumption. I’m sure the risk factor would drop off a few points.
Ladies – go get your screenings.
Being away adds to the challenge. I’ve managed ok but definately let some things slide. While traveling, I drank wine, ate a fabulous orange genoise dessert and even ate toast and dinner rolls- and enjoyed them all. But I also avoided many foods I would have eaten without thinking about it like potatoes, most bread, most desserts and so on. So moderation won out.
Heading back to LA tonight and looking forward to resuming a bit more control over my options.
One small victory at the airport – where the sugar demon really likes to come out and play – I waivered over the chocolates cash in hand, but walked away. Good for me.
Traveling for a few days. The hardest part for me is the airport where I troll around for chocolates and my “airport only” must-have…oreo cookies. I made it through.
But for now all our meals are in restaurants. EVERYTHING comes with bread, potatoes, cheese, rice, tortillas, and sweet sauces. I leave it all on the plate or ask to not have it at all.
I did have a glass of wine with dinner, and found to my surprise I didn’t really enjoy it.
The meal s wonderful on its own – a grilled artichoke and trout filet.
No plans last night. Dinner was oven-roasted salmon with sauteed radicchio and a salad.
I’ve been thinking more about knowing the growers and cooks and food handlers and shipping clerks. Imagine if you knew all of the people in the food chain who planted the food, harvested it, processed it, shipped it, cooked it and served it to you. The closest model i could come up with is the little town in Upstate NY where my family has a summer home. There are many farmer/growers there with CSAs and it would be truly possible to know the names and faces of the people responsible for generating the food I consume. These include meat and dairy producers as well as vegetable and vegetable growers.
For fish I’d be on my own. It’s been decades since I’ve tried that. Maybe I’ll do it again this summer.
My mother took me to a theater workshop in a private home. The show was great and so was the buffet. Miles of bon bons, brownies, raspberry tarts, chocolate chocolate chip cookies and cheese platters. And that was just the inside. A second and even larger table was on the patio. I had to look-see and took a tour of both tables. The portions were bit sized and the hour was prime-time for my Sugar Demon to come out and play. It would have been so easy to cave-in and indulge one of the many excuses and “exceptions” I have conveniently employed all month long. And then I thought about writing it here. I wanted to say I was at the dessert table and I held my ground. So I walked away and had some tea.
I’m not convinced that all this denial, avoidance and self-imposed restraint is really the way to go. Pleasure is an important part of life, and desserts and wine are pleasurable. Sure it feels good-ish to have discipline, but in the long term this is not sustainable and will only make me feel envy towards people who eat desserts without giving it a second thought. Why not have some dessert on occasion and enjoy? Can I do that? Balance it out? Or will I revert back to chocolates and sweets as a daily occurrence?