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Green tea uterine fibroids studies
Fibroid tumors in the uterus are a common female problem.
Estimates of occurrence range from 10-20% of all women (NWHIC) up to 80% of all women (NUFF).
The majority of these women will experience no symptoms.
However, up to 25% of the time, these benign tumors create problems severe enough to require hysterectomy and is the #1 cause of hysterectomy in the United States (NWHIC).
Researchers have explored many ways to reduce the occurrence of these tumors in women, including studying the effects of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), the primary antioxidant in green tea.
Reducing uterine fibroids
Several studies show that EGCG in the diet increased cell death (apoptosis) of leiomyoma (fibroid tumors), reduced the number of tumors, and reduced the size of tumors.
The mechanisms studied in this green tea uterine fibroids research include multiple signal transduction pathways. Genes were up-regulated in transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) pathways and inhibited in the NfkappaB-dependent inflammatory pathway (Zhang D et al, Antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of epigallocatechin gallate on human leiomyoma cells, Fertil Steril, October 2009).
Another green tea uterine fibroids study showed significant decreases in proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4) for tumors reduced in volume and weight (Zhang D et al, Green tea extract inhibits proliferation of unterine leiomyoma cells in vitro and in nude mice, American Journal Obstet Gynecol, March 2010).
Dietary supplementation with EGCG also reduced the number and size of spontaneous tumors in Japanese quail, a good animal model for estrogen and progesterone receptors (Ozercan IH et al, Chemoprevention of fibroid tumors by [-]-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in quail, Nutr Res, February 2008). These researchers also found that lycopene (found in tomatos) and soy isoflavones also reduced leiomyomas in quail during previous research.
These studies are considered preliminary and researchers encourage starting human clinical trials.
Since those trials could take years, in the meantime, women might consider adding daily green tea to their lifestyle choices, if appropriate.
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This page last updated by Sharon Jones on September 14, 2012
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