In a potentially groundbreaking new study, American researchers have identified the manner in which the compounds found in red wine and green tea inhibit cancer growth. The findings not only confirm the health benefits of consuming moderate amounts of each beverage, but may also allow scientists to one day develop medications capable of slowing cancer progression.
Using an animal model, the researchers found that the polyphenols in red wine and green tea were able to disrupt a specific cell-signaling pathway—known as sphingosine kinase-1/sphingosine 1-phosphate (SphK1/S1P)—that is often responsible for cancer growth.
The investigators implanted a group of lab mice with human prostate cancer cells, and then assigned them to receive either drinking water or a beverage loaded with the green tea compounds EGCg and polyphenon E. The subjects that consumed the polyphenol-rich drink developed much smaller tumors than those who were only given water.
"The profound impact that the antioxidants in red wine and green tea have on our bodies is more than anyone would have dreamt just 25 years ago," said Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, which recently published the study.
"As long as they are taken in moderation, all signs show that red wine and green tea may be ranked among the most potent ‘health foods’ we know," he added.