Can drinking green tea help fight prostate cancer? Researchers have conducted both laboratory and human studies to find out.
Some believe it is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are beneficial, because they may prevent the risk of cancer by blocking the actions of free radicals that have been associated with causing cell damage.
What makes it special?
Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and has a high concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, including catechins.
Steeping the leaves for five minutes has been shown to release over 80% of catechins. Tea catechins have been shown to inhibit cancer growth.
Laboratory studies: promising
Researchers believe that these polyphenols work to prevent prostate cancer from spreading by:
More lab studies
Human studies: mixed results
Recently, in a randomized clinical trial, Henning et al had 113 men with prostate cancer drink either six cups of brewed green tea, black tea, or water (control) a day before surgery for prostate cancer (radical prostatectomy). There were no significant differences on the effects on prostate cancer biomarkers.
But when Fei et al analyzed various clinical studies, they determined that any kind of tea may have a protective factor in men with low-grade cancer.
Previous epidemiological studies comparing people who drink GT to those who don’t suggest that it helps prevent cancer. But other studies do not.
The challenge with epidemiological studies is that they can only show that a factor is associated with an outcome in men with prostate cancer. But they cannot prove a definite cause of the outcome. There are other factors that can contribute to inconsistent results, including
More green tea studies vary
In studies, both green and black tea extracts stimulated genes that cause cells to be less responsive to chemotherapy drugs.
If your loved one is receiving chemotherapy, talk to his doctor about drinking teas or using any extracts.
Always check with a doctor or nutritionist before making any major dietary changes.
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Kurahashi N et al. Am J Epidemiol.2008;167(1):71-7.
Trottier G,Boström P, Lawrentschuk L, Fleshner E. Nature Reviews Urology. 2000;7, 21-30.
Always consult a medical professional.