Every year from Spring until Fall there are two constants in my life. The first is that my golf swing will stink no matter how many lessons I take. The second is that my friend Alex will have one arm that is significantly darker than the other.
The reason Alex's left arm is so dark is because he is a salesman who spends all day in his car. In the summertime, he loves to drive with his windows down and his left arm propped and slightly sticking out the driver side window.
Since only his arm is sticking outside of the window, it is getting direct sunlight. The sunlight that hits the rest of his body is filtered through the glass windshield in the car, which has a UV coating. A UV coating blocks the ultraviolet rays that cause your skin to tan and eventually burn. Since his left arm is exposed to UV rays, it turns darker and eventually burns. Because the windshield blocks the UV rays from the rest of his body, they remain as pale as ever. Hence the weird dark arm of Alex.
Green tea has a similar effect. Instead of blocking UV rays, green tea has a compound that blocks a protein that causes cancer.
The Special Compound is ECGC
ECGC, in scientific terms, is Epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). ECGC in is most basic sense is an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants protect the body’s cells from nasty, damaging molecules called free radicals. Researchers have shown that free radicals are responsible for diseases like cancer, auto-immune diseases and heart disease. Specifically relating to cancer, ECGC has been shown to bind and inhibit a specific protein (Bcl-xl) that plays a large role in both cancer cell and normal cell survival.
This Sounds Scientific. Is There an Analogy?
The best analogy I can think of is rust. If metal comes into contact with water it will turn brown and start to rust. The rusting occurs because the oxygen in the water fuses with the iron. Over time, the iron will corrode, spread and eventually destroy the entire piece of metal. Free radicals in your body have the same effect. They attach to the molecules in your body, corrode them, spread rapidly and eventually destroy your body.
What Types of Cancer Does ECGC Prevent?
ECGC has been scientifically shown to prevent numerous types of cancer. But the most conclusive studies have shown that it prevents brain, prostate, cervical and bladder cancer.
The Evidence Sounds like Snake Oil. Is There any Proof?
The studies funded by trusted agencies are numerous. Here are some of the more recognized studies. - In 2009 a study by the American Cancer Society showed that ECGC can help prevent brain cancer.
In 2009 a study done by the New York Medial College showed that ECGC can help prevent prostate cancer.
In 2006 a study by the American Association for Cancer Research showed that ECGC can help prevent prostate cancer.
A 2009 study in the Archives of Pharmacal Research showed that ECGC can prevent cervical cancer.
A 2009 study by the Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that Green Tea can prevent bladder cancer.
Not only is green tea a delicious beverage, but it has been shown through the scientific community to be one of the healthiest drinks for you. While it is not recognized to be as protective as sunscreen, maybe it should be.
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