Against Stomach Disorder
YORK (Reuters Health) - A regular cup of green tea may help prevent
chronic stomach inflammation that can lead to stomach cancer,
a new study shows.
A number of
studies have suggested green tea drinkers have lower odds of developing
stomach cancer compared with people who favor other types of leaves
or refuse tea altogether. Now new research suggests a possible
route green tea takes in cutting stomach cancer risk--it may lower
the odds of chronic gastritis, long-term stomach inflammation
that can precede cancer.
In a study
of more than 600 Chinese men and women, researchers found that
green tea drinkers were about half as likely as non-drinkers to
have stomach cancer or gastritis. In China, stomach cancer is
the most common cancer among men and women.
A team led
by Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang of the University of California, Los Angeles,
reports the findings in the May issue of the International Journal
the first time that green tea drinking was found to protect against
chronic gastritis,'' Zhang said in a statement. ``The study suggests
that using green tea to treat chronic gastritis and as a preventive
therapy in high-risk populations would reduce the incidence of
stomach cancer in the long term.''
his colleagues came to their conclusions after examining health
and lifestyle factors among men and women with stomach cancer
or gastritis, and among healthy individuals. They questioned the
participants on their diets, smoking and drinking habits, family
history of digestive cancers and other factors that might affect
their risk of stomach disorders.
found that the healthy individuals were more likely than patients
with either stomach condition to be green tea drinkers. Even after
considering other health factors, green tea consumption was linked
to lower odds of gastritis and stomach cancer. And the more often
and longer people drank green tea, the lower their stomach cancer
that a number of factors can raise the risk of stomach cancer--including
diets high in smoked and salted meats but low in produce and fiber,
smoking, family history of the disease and previous stomach surgery.
In addition, infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which
can cause chronic gastritis and ulcers, has been linked to stomach
cancer--although the vast majority of people who harbor the bacteria
do not develop the cancer.
In an interview
with Reuters Health, Zhang noted that while green tea has taken
on health-food status in the US, in China the beverage often goes
hand-in-hand with drinking and smoking. ''People use it to treat
hangovers,'' he said.
to Zhang, argues against the idea that green tea drinkers in China
have a generally healthful lifestyle that wards off disease.
tea might protect the stomach is unclear. But Zhang pointed out
that the beverage contains antioxidants, which help prevent damage
to healthy cells. Since green tea has significantly less caffeine
than coffee does, having a couple of cups per day would likely
bring health benefits with no downside, according to Zhang.
International Journal of Cancer 2001;92:600-604.
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