Green tea and cancer risk reduction

Green tea and its extracts have been widely touted as potential treatments for cancer, as well as several other diseases. But scientists have struggled to explain how the green tea and its extracts may work to reduce the risk of cancer or to slow the growth of cancer cells.

Recently doctors documented that:
“…regardless of tea type, tea consumption might be a potential protective factor for the Prostate Cancer…”1

In new research Japanese doctors say Green tea make cancer treatments work better.2

A study recently published online by the journal, Metabolomics, offers an explanation that researchers say could open a new area of cancer-fighting research. The study reports that EGCG, the active biologic constituent in green tea, changed the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells by suppressing the expression of an enzyme associated with cancer. 3

Research from the University of Basel is reporting the first evidence that green tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the working memory. The Swiss findings suggest promising clinical implications for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia. The academic journal Psychopharmacology has published their results.

The main ingredients of green tea have been thoroughly studied in cancer research. Recently, scientists have also been inquiring into the beverage’s positive impact on the human brain. Different studies were able to link green tea to beneficial effects on the cognitive performance. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this cognitive enhancing effect of green tea remained unknown.


Other health benefits – Better memory

In this new study, the researcher teams of Prof. Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Prof. Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics found that green tea extract increases the brain’s effective connectivity, meaning the causal influence that one brain area exerts over another. This effect on connectivity also led to improvement in actual cognitive performance: Subjects tested significantly better for working memory tasks after the admission of green tea extract.4

Age related memory and cognitive problems

University of South Florida (USF Health) researchers say nutritional supplements, including blueberries and green tea extracts, helped boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information.5 This agrees with earlier research which said that drinking more green tea may lower prevalence of cognitive impairment” 6


Other health benefits –

Cardiovascular problems

The health benefits of green tea are well documented beyond memory and cognitive issues: The American Heart Association says green tea and coffee may help lower your risks of having a stroke, especially when both are a regular part of your diet.

Green tea contains numerous antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, which are actually a type of flavonoid, protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Green tea has been reported to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol levels, and protect against cancer. The beneficial effects green tea have been attributed to the high content of catechin, a specific polyphenol with strong antioxidant potential.

People who drank either green tea or coffee daily had about approximately 20~30 percent lower risk for one type of stroke, compared to those who seldom drank them.7

Problems related to aging – a person’s ability to perform physical activities

Now more research is confirming the beneficial effects of green tea on problems related to aging. Here is what research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says: Previous studies have reported that green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of diseases that cause functional disability, such as stroke, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis. Now it is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident functional disability”8


Depression in older patients

A more frequent consumption of green tea was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in the community-dwelling older population.9

Green tea does contain caffeine and questions about how much green tea you drink is best discussed with your physician.


1. Fei X, Shen Y, Li X, Guo H. The association of tea consumption and the risk and progression of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014 Nov 15;7(11):3881-91. eCollection 2014.

2. Fujiki H, Sueoka E, Watanabe T, Suganuma M. Synergistic enhancement of anticancer effects on numerous human cancer cell lines treated with the combination of EGCG, other green tea catechins, and anticancer compounds. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014 Dec 28. [Epub ahead of print]

3. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/labr-seh053014.php

4. Green tea boosts your brain, University of Basel 

5. Brent Small, Kerri Rawson, Christina Martin, Sarah Eisel, Cindy D Sanberg, Cathy McEvoy, Paul Sanberg, R. Douglas Shytle, Jun Tan, Paula C Bickford. Nutraceutical Intervention Improves Older Adults’ Cognitive Functioning. Rejuvenation Research, 2013; 131017084344003 DOI: 10.1089/rej.2013.1477

6. Shinichi Kuriyama, Atsushi Hozawa, Kaori Ohmori, et al. Green tea consumption and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study from the Tsurugaya ProjectAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 83, No. 2, 355-361, February 2006

7. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/green-tea-coffee-may-help-lower-stroke-risk

8. Tomata Y,Kakizaki M, Nakaya M, et al. Green tea consumption and the risk of incident functional disability in elderly Japanese: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study. Am J Clin Nutr March 2012 ajcn.023200

9. Hozawa A, Kuriyama S, Nakaya N, et al. Green tea consumption is associated with lower psychological distress in a general population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1390-6. Epub 2009 Sep 30.