Green Tea Extract and Curcumin for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Green tea extract and curcumin for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (or CLL) is considered to be incurable with current chemotherapeutic treatment models, therefore researchers are always on the lookout for efficacious substances. Both green tea extract and curcumin have proven themselves to show promise with this type of blood cancer.

Green Tea- contains the polyphenol called epigallaocatechin-3-gallate (or EGCG). Studies show that EGCG inhibits the proteins that are required for cancer cell survival and can shut off the mechanisms that can trigger their growth. This compound also interrupts the signaling pathways that are associated with cancer stem cells.  Because of this, EGCG has the ability to:

  • Prevents cancer cell proliferation
  • Kills cancer stem cells
  • Quells inflammation

Curcumin-  is the most active constituent of turmeric.  It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogenic and has been shown to reverse the tendency for bad genes to express themselves.  It is a promoter of apoptosis (or cancer cell death) and can halt angiogenesis (which is the development of new blood supply for cancerous tumors), and it can reduce the inflammatory cancer micro-environment.  In addition, it has the ability to block estrogen mimicking chemicals and increase overall immunity of the body.  One of the powerful things that curcumin has the ability to do that chemotherapy and radiation cannot is to specifically target cancer stem cells, which is where all cancer begins.

Green Tea Extract and curcumin have both demonstrated effectiveness for chronic lymphocytic leukemia in studies

Experimental Design: The in vitro effect of curcumin on primary CLL B cell was evaluated using a fluorescence activated cell sorter analysis and Western blotting. For some experiments, CLL B cells were co-cultured with human stromal cells to evaluate the effects of curcumin on leukemia cells cultured in their micro-environment. Finally, the effect of curcumin in combination with the green tea extract (EGCG) was evaluated.

Results: Curcumin induced apoptosis in CLL dose dependent manner and inhibited constitutively active pro-survival pathways, including signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3), AKT, and nuclear factor κB.  Researchers found that when the curcumin was administered simultaneously with EGCG, there was an antagonistic effect observed for most patient samples, however when the compounds were administered sequentially– first with the green tea extract followed later by the curcumin, it led to substantial increases in CLL B-cell death and could overcome stromal protection.  Link to this study.

Further notes on this study

The antagonistic effect mentioned above found that a combination of the two natural substances together didn’t work as well as the researches had hoped.  They phrased it this way.  “… simultaneous culture had a less than additive effect.”    Furthermore “sequential (or one at a time) administration led to dramatically more leukemic cell death than simultaneous administration.”  So, not only did exposing the cancer cells to these substances one at a time matter, but the order at which they were exposed mattered as well. When the green tea was added first, followed by curcumin, it worked much better than if the cells were exposed to the curcumin first, followed by the green tea extractIt should also be noted that the study used curcumin that was not bio-available. If they had done so this probably would have enhanced the effectiveness of the overall treatment as noted in the final paragraphs of this study.  There are many bio-available forms of curcumin available on the market today.  Please use this link to read more about them.

Green tea powder

More studies in humans regarding Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia andEGCG (which is the major component found in green tea.)  Mayo first tested EGCG in a variety of laboratory assays about eight years ago, and it was found to reduce the survival of Chronic Lyphocytic Leukemia cells. This laboratory finding was followed by a successful phase I clinical trial — the first time green tea extract had been studied in CLL patients.

In this study researchers found that the blood lymphocyte (leukemia cell) count was reduced in one-third of participants, and that the majority of patients who entered the study with enlarged lymph nodes due to involvement by CLL saw a 50 percent or greater reduction in their lymph node size.

Dr Tait Shanafelt, hematologist and lead author of the study, said: “Although only a comparative phase III trial can determine whether EGCG can delay progression of CLL, the benefits we have seen in most CLL patients who use the chemical suggest that it has modest clinical activity and may be useful for stabilizing this form of leukemia, potentially slowing it down.”

“These studies advance the notion that a nutraceutical like EGCG can and should be studied as cancer preventives,” says Neil Kay, M.D., a hematology researcher whose laboratory first tested the green tea extract in leukemic blood cells from CLL patients. “Using nontoxic chemicals to push back cancer growth to delay the need for toxic therapies is a worthy goal in oncology research — particularly for forms of cancer initially managed by observation such as CLL.”  Mayo reports that many patients who have been diagnosed with CLL have started to include EGCG supplements as part of their therapies.  Supplements are readily available over the counter or online.  Link to this study

More on CLL and green tea extract- Author and alternative cancer advocate Ralph Moss, PhD, reviewed a study in his newsletter, Cancer Decisions. According to Dr. Moss, 33 patients were treated with varying dosages of EGCG. The doses ranged from 400 mg up to 2,000 mg, twice a day.  After just one month of treatment, one patient experienced a partial remission. A third of the patients experienced more than a 20 percent decrease in the number of lymphocytes in their blood. And 11 out of 12 patients that previously had visibly swollen lymph nodes experienced a reduction of at least 50 percent in the size of these nodes.  Although the standardized form of EGCG that was used in the study is not available on the market  there are several reputable companies that produce EGCG  as a supplement.

The next study involved patients who began drinking green tea on their own and the observations that were made by doctors – This study is based on several patients who became aware of the effectiveness of green tea for leukemic conditions from outside sources and began to use it on their own as a side treatments.  One example, “This patient was categorized as having stage IV disease and observation was recommended. Follow-up CT scans in November 2003 (8 months after diagnosis) and May 2004 (14 months after diagnosis) demonstrated measurable progression of lymphadenopathy in the left axilla (largest node 3.0 cm× 2.3 cm) and mesentery (∼2.7 cm× 1.2 cm). The patient remained asymptomatic and continued observation was recommended. After hearing reports regarding the in vitro effects of green tea extract on CLL B-cells, the patient began drinking a cup of green tea each day (prepared with two tea bags) starting August 2004 (17 months after diagnosis). Follow-up CT scans in November 2004 (20 months after diagnosis) and June 2005 (27 months after diagnosis) demonstrated a 50% decrease in the sum of the products of the six largest lymph node areas consistent with a PR according to the International Working Group criteria for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She continues to do well drinking green tea daily 27 months after diagnosis and has not required any conventional therapy.”   Read about four patients who employed green tea on their own to treat and stabilize their leukemic conditions without the need for further conventional intervention.

Two studies on green tea extract for prostate cancer–  Asian cultures have promoted the many health benefits of green tea for thousands of years. In the last decade, hundreds of studies now  confirm that you should be drinking a few cups of green tea  every day. And two recent studies show that it provides  particularly powerful prostate protection.

Study 1- A case-control study was conducted in Hangzhou, southeast China during 2001-2002. The cases were 130 incident patients with histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma of the prostate. The controls were 274 hospital inpatients without prostate cancer or any other malignant diseases, and matched to the age of cases. Information on duration, quantity and frequency of usual tea consumption, as well as the number of new batches brewed per day, were collected by face-to-face interview using a structured questionnaire. The risk of prostate cancer for tea consumption was assessed using multivariate logistic regression adjusting for age, locality, education, income, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, total fat intake, marital status, age at marriage, number of children, history of vasectomy and family history of prostate cancer. Among the cases, 55.4% were tea drinkers compared to 79.9% for the controls. Almost all the tea consumed was green tea. The prostate cancer risk declined with increasing frequency, duration and quantity of green tea consumption. The adjusted odds ratio (OR), relative to non-tea drinkers, were 0.28 (95% CI = 0.17-0.47) for tea drinking, 0.12 (95% CI = 0.06-0.26) for drinking tea over 40 years, 0.09 (95% CI = 0.04-0.21) for those consuming more than 1.5 kg of tea leaves yearly, and 0.27 (95% CI = 0.15-0.48) for those drinking more than 3 cups (1 litre) daily. The dose response relationships were also significant, suggesting that green tea is protective against prostate cancer.

Study 2- Italian researchers studied 62 men who had been diagnosed with a pre-cancerous prostate condition, which would normally result in cancer in about 30 percent of the cases. Half of the men were given a placebo and the other half consumed green tea extract every day. In the placebo group, 9 out of 30 men went on to develop cancer, but in the green tea group, only 1 out of 32 participants developed the disease. This number is consistent with a study of Chinese men which found that those who consumed the most green tea were two-thirds less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Studies regarding curcumin and cancer

  • In 2001, scientists discovered that turmeric dampens the inflammation cascade that can occur within the body, thereby stopping the proliferation of cancer in its tracks.
  • In 2002, scientists began unraveling how turmeric selectively worked against cancer cells. They found that cancer cells produce “transcription factors” which protect them against cell death. Turmeric’s active ingredients include a host of compounds known as curcuminoids. Collectively, they attack the cancer’s transcription factor, and restore the cells’ natural ability to commit suicide (apoptosis) .  Unlike conventional treatments, turmeric strengthens healthy cells, while removing cancerous ones with laser-like precision.
  • Early in the 1990s, the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, reported that the anticancer effects of turmeric were found to be “staggering.”  After sprinkling a pinch of the spice on cancer cells in the lab, researchers found that it blocked a crucial pathway required for the development of skin cancer, prostate tumors, as well as other cancers.
  • Further studies at the University of Wisconsin reported that turmeric blocks a type of cancer fertilizer known as VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). Without this growth factor, cancer cells are unable to thrive and eventually commit cell suicide.
  • Epidemiology studies reveal that populations who consume the most turmeric also have the lowest rates of prostate cancers.  India has twenty-five times less incidence prostate cancers than men in the United States.  The average intake of turmeric in the Indian population is 2-2.5 g/day, providing about 60-200 mg of curcumin.
  • Read more about curcumin

In regards to supplementation with green tea and curcumin

Green Tea- you can find Green Tea Supplements or take it as Matcha Green Tea Powder.  Just one teaspoon of Matcha Powder is equivalent to drinking ten cups of regular green tea.  Most green tea only has .42mg of EGCG per gram, but Matcha Tea has 57.4mg per gram. That is 137 times the cancer stem cell fighting ability in a form that your body can easily absorb.

Comparing the absorption rates of curcumin with black pepper to curcumin BCM-95

Curcumin– the standard dose for curcumin is 400 to 600 milligrams daily, but when dealing with cancer or other chronic illness, this doses can go as high as 4, 6,or 8 grams daily.  As reported in the article linked below, “phase I clinical trials, using massive doses of curcumin (up to 8 g/day for four months) in human volunteers, “did not result in discernible toxicities.”

Unfortunately many supplemental formulations of curcumin are unable to cross from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, so when purchasing look for BCM-95 Curcumin, which allows for the highest available absorption rates (up to 96%) into the bloodstream. Link to the source article.

Additional resources

Terry Naturally CuraMed BCM-95, 120 Softgels

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Cancer is a wake up call which needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.  It is the result of an overly toxic body with an overwhelmed and collapsed immune system due to eating nutritionally depleted diets, exposure to toxins, and having poor lifestyle habits. Research an anticancer diet, adding supplements, detoxing the body, and making lifestyle changes so you can address a cancerous situation with a multifaceted approach.


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