[MOL] OnHealth Green Tea Alters Hormone Levels [00996] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] OnHealth Green Tea Alters Hormone Levels


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  FEBRUARY 24, 2000

Green Tea Alters Hormone Levels

      Studies have highlighted the numerous health benefits of drinking green tea. Now, a new study suggests a compound found in green tea also affects the hormones that control appetite and prostate-cancer risk.
      The compound is called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Researchers at the University of Chicago's Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research studied the effects EGCG had in rats and found the potent compound led to appetite loss in rats. In fact, the rats fed EGCG ate up to 60 percent less food after receiving injections for seven days.
      EGCG reduced the rats' appetite by causing levels of a hormone called leptin to drop. Leptin controls appetite and has been a focus in research to help treat obesity.
      Researchers also discovered the green-tea compound affected testosterone levels. The prostates of healthy rats fed EGCG shrunk by 70 percent, researchers report. This compound could be useful in reducing an enlarged prostate or lowering the risk of prostate cancer, which is associated with high testosterone levels, researchers suggest.
      But don't put on water for tea just yet. "A person would have to drink green tea almost constantly to obtain these results," says lead researcher Shutsung Liao. "And since some of the hormonal changes we saw in rats could have negative effects, especially in younger people, I don't recommend drinking large quantities of green tea for everybody."
      This study is published in the March issue of Endocrinology.


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