Big matcha green tea news coming out of Penn State University, a new study has found that a compound in matcha green tea powder may trigger a process in oral cancer cells that causes them to die off without effecting healthy cells. This research, which has already been backed by the American Institute for Cancer Research, may not only lead to a treatment for oral cancer, but other cancers as well.
This new study was not the first to discover matcha’s anti-cancer properties. Previous studies found that matcha’s main antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), was able to kill oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but they could never quite pinpoint why. The current study, lead by Joshua Lambert, an associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health, may have finally found the cause. The research found that EGCG is triggering a process in the mitochondria of oral cancer cells that leads to cell death.
The researchers for the study examined healthy and cancerous oral cells side-by-side by placing them in Petri dishes and exposing them to varying levels of EGCG. They found that when exposed to the amount of antioxidant found in matcha chewing gum, it had a very particular response.
“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,” said Lambert.
Yet, EGCG did not cause the same reaction in healthy cells. In fact, the study found that the antioxidant actually increased the protective capabilities of healthy cells.
It is no secret that dentists love matcha green tea for its ability to kill bacteria, but if it has the capability to treat and prevent oral cancer, that’s just one more benefit to enjoying a quality cup. For those looking to learn a little more about matcha’s many benefits, check out The Flavor Project today.