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Red wine and green tea slow prostate cancer and now scientists know why

Scientists have discovered why polyphenols in red wine and green tea slow the growth of prostate cancer. Researchers have uncovered previously unknown information showing the combination of polyphenols in green tea and red wine have a powerful impact on health that can disrupt signaling pathways to slow the growth of prostate cancer in addition to other types of cancerous tumors.

The combined effect of antioxidants in green tea and red wine disrupt the sphingosine kinase-1/sphingosine 1-phosphate (SphK1/S1P) pathway say scientists. "Not only does SphK1/S1P signaling pathway play a role in prostate cancer, but it also plays a role in other cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and gastric cancers," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of the FASEB journal. Researchers were able to demonstrate the effect in the lab.

Weismann adds, "Even if future studies show that drinking red wine and green tea isn't as effective in humans as we hope, knowing that the compounds in those drinks disrupts this pathway is an important step toward developing drugs that hit the same target." Researchers experimented with mice genetically altered to develop prostate cancer to find how red wine and green tea polyphenols slow prostate cancer growth after performing in vitro studies.

Mice were given water or green tea and polyphenols. Mice treated with the compounds experienced reduced prostate tumor growth from disruption of the SphK1/S1P pathway that the researchers say is the result of the combination of antioxidants.

In a second experiment researchers again showed how red wine and green tea slowed prostate cancer. They separated the mice into three groups giving them drinking water, drinking water with a green tea compound known as EGCg, or drinking water with a different green tea compound, polyphenon E. Mice given EGCg or polyphenon E mixtures had a “dramatic” decrease in the size of prostate cancer tumors.

Dr. Weismann says the powerful effect of green tea and red wine polyphenols is greater than anyone knew 25 years ago. He suggests that in moderation, the beverages could be “among the most potent 'health foods' we know."

The study is the first to show why polyphenols in red wine and green tea work to slow the growth of prostate cancer. The findings could lead to the development of compounds from green tea and red wine to improve cancer treatment and may also lead to new drugs for cancer treatment. You can buy organic red wine and green tea that could provide prostate cancer protection at the Healthy Home Market in Charlotte. The authors say wine and tea may be potent for slowing prostate cancer, consumed in moderation.

FASEB Journal: Brizuela L et al. 2010 Jun 3

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