Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., N.D.

Wellness Forum Health

 I’ve been adding high-quality, food-grade green tea to my favorite breakfast, the Wellness Forum Health smoothie, for almost 20 years. There are thousands of studies published in medical journals showing that green tea is beneficial for health. The health-promoting effect of green tea on various conditions is attributed, in part, to powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and catechins. Many studies have shown that green tea and/or its constituents can be an effective adjuvant for cancer treatment.  According to Dr. Ralph Moss of cancerdecisions.com, there are thousands of articles in medical journals discussing green tea and cancer; 1300 of them concerning the effect of the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin (EGCG) on cancer.

One example of such studies concerns the ability of green tea to reduce cancer cell proliferation.  D. James Morre and Dorothy Morre, researchers at Purdue University, discovered a surface protein on cancer cells called ENOX2, which enables young cancer cells to increase in size and prepare for cell division. Green tea is one of several substances that can inhibit ENOX2.

One of the limitations of research on green tea is that so many studies focus on individual nutrients in green tea instead of the effect of the whole food, or tea. But a recent study looked at the effect of green tea, not green tea extracts, on prostate cancer.

One hundred and thirteen men with prostate cancer were randomized to consume 6 cups of brewed green tea daily, brewed black tea, or water before undergoing radical prostatectomy. Men who drank green tea showed a significant drop in nuclear factor-kappa B, a marker for aggressive cancer, and a significant drop in PSA levels. Tea polyphenols were found in the prostate tissue of 32 out of the 34 men who drank tea, but in none of the men in the other two groups. The authors concluded, “Future long-term studies are warranted to further examine the role of GT for prostate cancer prevention and treatment, and possibly for other prostate conditions such as prostatitis.”

While I continue to enthusiastically recommend green tea to members of Wellness Forum Health, this recommendation is closely followed by statements about the importance of doing a lot of other things right too, such as addressing the totality of the dietary pattern, and exercise. Green tea is a helpful, but not magical food, and is an excellent addition to a health-promoting diet.

Ralph Moss, Ph.D. “War on Cancer.” Townsend Letter January 2016 pp 83-84

Henning S, Wang P, Said J et al. “Randomized clinical trial of brewed green and black tea in men with prostate cancer prior to prostatectomy.” Prostate 2015;75(5):550-559