We’re learning that green tea has many benefits in the fight against cancer.
Research has been pointing to evidence of green tea’s powerful disease-prevention benefits for years. Now recent laboratory and human studies are starting to show that green tea may even have the ability to kill specific cancer cells.1,2
The component plentiful in green tea shown to be responsible for chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic actions in laboratory studies is the polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound has been found to prevent cancer cells by changing the way normal cells react to potential carcinogens entering the body. EGCG also appears to create chemical changes that kill active cancer cells in multiple myeloma, breast, cervical, and colon cancer tumors.3,4,5,6
In addition, recent observations from the Mayo Clinic suggest that green tea may fight chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and a clinical trial is now underway to test the effect of green tea in CLL patients.7 Clinical studies at the University of Parma in Italy have also produced statistically significant evidence of EGCG’s ability to treat precancerous changes in the prostate.8 As well, recent human studies at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have shown the effectiveness of green tea extracts in treating skin toxicity associated with radiotherapy for solid head, neck, and pelvic tumors. 9
While we wait for further confirmation from clinical trials that green tea both prevents and fights cancer, we can enjoy it knowing that it has no known side effects other than high doses delivering too much caffeine. By following the proper consumption and brewing instructions below, you can get maximum benefit while minimizing caffeine content.
1. Sartippour MR, Pietras R, Marquez-Garban DC, Chen HW, Heber D, Henning SM, Sartippour G, Zhang L, Lu M, Weinberg O, Rao JY, The combination of green tea and tamoxifen is effective against breast cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2006;27(12):2424-33.
2. Nagle DG, Ferreira D, Zhou YD. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): chemical and biomedical perspectives. Phytochemistry. 2006;67(17):1849-55.
3. Shammas MA, Neri P, Koley H, Batchu RB, Bertheau RC, Munshi V, Prabhala R, Fulciniti M, Tai YT, Treon SP, Goyal RK, Anderson KC, Munshi NC. Specific killing of multiple myeloma cells by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate extracted from green tea: biologic activity and therapeutic implications Blood. 2006;108(8):2804-10.
4. Zhao X, Tian H, Ma X, Li L. Epigallocatechin gallate, the main ingredient of green tea induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Front Biosci. 2006;11:2428-33.
5. Zhang Q, Tang X, Lu Q, Zhang Z, Rao J, Le AD. Green tea extract and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibit hypoxia- and serum-induced HIF-1alpha protein accumulation and VEGF expression in human cervical carcinoma and hepatoma cells. Mol Cancer Ther. 2006;5(5):1227-38.
6. Peng G, Dixon DA, Muga SJ, Smith TJ, Wargovich MJ. Green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 expression in colon carcinogenesis. Mol Carcinog. 2006;45(5):309-19.
7. Shanafelt TD, Lee YK, Call TG, Nowakowski GS, Dingli D, Zent CS, Kay NE. Clinical effects of oral green tea extracts in four patients with low grade B-cell malignancies. Leuk Res. 2006 Jun;30(6):707-12.
8. Bettuzzi S, Brausi M, Rizzi F, Castagnetti G, Peracchia G, Corti A. Chemoprevention of human prostate cancer by oral administration of green tea catechins in volunteers with high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia: a preliminary report from a one-year proof-of-principle study. Cancer Res.2006;66(2):1234-40.
9. Pajonk F, Riedisser A, Henke M, McBride WH, Fiebich B. The effects of tea extracts on proinflammatory signaling. BMC Med. 2006 Dec 1;4:28.
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