All true teas are from herbal and flower infusions, which aficionados call tisanes, are made from the leaves of a magnolia-related evergreen tree with the botanical name of Camellia sinensis. Although reaching a height of 30 feet in the wild, on tea plantations, the plant is kept as a shrub, constantly pruned to a height of about 3 feet to encourage new growth and for convenient picking.
Green tea is the least processed and thus provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea.
Green tea is particularly rich in health promoting flavonoids (which account for 30% of the dry weight of a leaf), including catechins and their derivatives. The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is thought to play a pivotal role in the green tea's anti cancer and antioxidant effects. Catechins have been found to be more potent free radical scavengers than the well known antioxidants vitamins E and C.
Most of the research showing the health benefits of green tea is based on the amount of green tea typically consumed in Asian countries, about 3 cups per day (which would provide 240 to 320 mg of polyphenols). Just one cup of green tea supplies 20 to 35 mg of EGCG, which has the highest antioxidant activity of all the green tea catechins.
Green tea drinkers appear to have lower risk for a wide range of diseases, from simple bacterial or viral infections to chronic degenerative conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis. The latest studies provide a deeper understanding of the ways in which green tea: Protects against Coronary Artery Disease
Green tea has been shown to effectively lower risk of atherosclerosis by lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, lipid peroxides (free radicals that damage LDL cholesterol and other lipids or fats) and fibrinogen (a protein in the blood involved in the formation of blood clots), while improving the ratio of LDL (bad) to HDL (good) cholesterol. In animal studies in which green tea was given in human equivalent doses to hamsters, atherosclerosis was inhibited 26-46% in those receiving the lower dose (equivalent in humans to 3-4 cups per day) , and 48-63% in those receiving the higher dose (10 cups a day in humans).
Special Benefits For Persons With High Triglycerides
Green tea may offer special heart protective benefits for persons with high triglycerides, suggests a laboratory study, published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. A series of experiments revealed that the mix of catechins naturally found in green tea dose-dependently inhibit the activity of pancreatic lipase, the enzyme secreted by the pancreas that digests fat. As a result, the rate at which the body breaks down of fats into triglycerides, and the rise of triglyceride levels in the bloodstream that occurs after meals, is greatly slowed. Since a large rise in blood levels of triglycerides after a meal is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease, drinking a cup of two green tea along with your meals is a good idea, especially if your triglyceride levels are higher than normal.
Thins The Blood And Helps Prevent Blood Clots
Green tea catechins help thin the blood and prevent the formation of blood clots by preventing the formation of pro-inflammatory compounds derived from omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in meats and polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as corn, safflower and soy oil. These pro-inflammatory compounds; specifically, arachidonic acid from which the inflammatory cytokines thromboxane A2 and prostaglandin D2 are derived will cause platelets to clump together.
Protects The Heart In Patients With Acute Cardiovascular Disease
The primary catechin in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) confers such powerful protection that it can help prevent the death of heart muscle cells following ischemia/reperfusion injury. Ischemia is the medical term for a restriction in blood supply and therefore in oxygen and nutrients. When circulation is restored, oxidative damage occurs, and this is referred to as reperfusion injury. EGCG prevents heart muscle damage by blocking the activation of inflammation-related compounds (including NF-kappa-B and STAT-1) that play a critical role in promoting the oxidative damage that kills heart cells in reperfusion injury.
Minimizes Damage And Speeds Recovery After A Heart Attack
Research conducted over the last several years by Dr. Anastasis Stephanou and his team at the UK's Institute of Child Health and published in the FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of Experimental Biology and the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has focused on EGCG's ability to block the action of the protein, STAT-1. Normally activated in cells after a heart attack or stroke, STAT-1 plays a major role in inducing cell death.
Not only does green tea minimize heart cell death after a heart attack or stroke, ECGC also appears to speed up heart cells' recovery from damage, allowing the tissues to recover more quickly and alleviating damage to organs.
Minimizes Damage To The Brain After A Stroke
EGCG has also been shown to protect brain cells by these same mechanisms and thus may help minimize the brain damage that occurs after a stroke. Daily intake of green tea catechins efficiently protects the brain from irreversible damage due to cerebral ischemia, and consequent neurologic deficits."
Lowers Blood Pressure And Helps Prevent Hypertension
A study published in the July 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that among persons consuming tea regularly for at least one year, the risk of developing high blood pressure was 46% lower among those who drank ½ cup to 2 ½ cups per day, and 65% less among those consuming more than 2 ½ cups per day.
Helps Prevent The Development Of Atherosclerosis And Cancer
In both atherosclerosis and cancer, cell growth and proliferation is central to the disease process. In atherosclerosis, plaques form in the lining of the arteries, which grow thicker and less elastic, impeding blood flow. In cancer, normal brakes on cells turn off, and they multiply out of control. Green tea can help stop abnormal cell proliferation.
Catechins, among the main active compounds in green tea leaves, shut down the primary relay station through which growth factors central to both atherosclerosis and cancer send their messages for growth. These relay stations, called tyrosine kinase receptors, are essential for the transmission of messages sent by platelet derived growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor. The result is the prevention of or halting of the disease processes that depend upon excessive cellular growth.
Protects Against Cancer
In the last ten years, green tea's cancer-preventive effects have been widely supported by epidemiological, cell culture, animal and clinical studies. For cancer prevention, the evidence is so overwhelming that the Chemoprevention Branch of the National Cancer Institute has initiated a plan for developing tea compounds as cancer-chemopreventive agents in human trials.
Laboratory cell culture studies show that green tea polyphenols are powerful triggers of apoptosis (cell suicide) and cell cycle arrest in cancerous but not in normal cells. (Cell cycling is the process cells go through to divide and replicate.)
EGCG provides other benefits specific to prostate cancer prevention. A study published in the December 2004 issue of the International Journal of Cancer found that EGCG significantly inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, the production of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a marker for prostate cancer risk. Not only did EGCG lower PSA levels, but it also suppressed all the activities of PSA which were examined that promote prostate cancer.
Green tea polyphenols halt prostate cancer at multiple levels. The polyphenols in green tea help prevent the spread of prostate cancer by mobilizing several molecular pathways that shut down the proliferation and spread of tumor cells, while also inhibiting the growth of blood vessels that supply the cancer with nourishment, according to research published in the December 2004 issue of Cancer Research.
Green Tea Polyphenols
- Decrease insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), while increasing levels of IGF binding protein-3, which binds IGF-1, further diminishing its activity. (Increased levels of IGF-1 are associated not only with prostate cancer, but cancers of the breast, lung and colon),
- Inhibit key cell survival proteins, promoting apoptosis or programmed cell death in cancer cells,
- Reduce the expression of several compounds (urokinase plasminogen activator and matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9) involved in the metastasis and spread of cancer cells.
- Reduce the amount of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which develops new blood vessels to carry nutrients to developing tumors.
Green tea consumption has been shown to enhance survival in women with ovarian cancer. In a study published in the November 2004 issue of the International Journal of Cancer, women with ovarian cancer who drank at least 1 cup of green tea daily had a 56% lowered risk of death during the 3 years of the study compared to non-tea drinkers. A laboratory study of human ovarian cancer cells published in the September 2004 issue of Gynecologic Oncology explains why: EGCG not only suppresses the growth of ovarian cancer cells, but also induces apoptosis (cell suicide) in these cells by affecting a number of genes and proteins.
Recent studies have also identified two mechanisms through which green tea works against breast cancer. Not only does EGCG inhibit the activity of telomerase, an enzyme that plays a key role in cell division, in breast cancer cells, but it also offers help to women with estrogen-negative breast cancer, a form of breast cancer that is very hard to treat successfully.
Estrogen-negative breast cancer cells express high amounts of the epidermal growth factor Her-2/neu, while in the more treatable estrogen-positive form of breast cancer, estrogen-receptor alpha (ERalpha) is expressed. According to a study published in the October 2004 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, EGCG induces the expression of ERalpha rather than Her-2/neu in breast cancer cells.
Brain Tumors In Children
Green tea's ability to inhibit telomerase may also translate into help for children with the most common malignant brain tumors of childhood, primitive neuroectodermal tumors. Telomerase's activity allows cancer cells to avoid the normal limits on the number of times a cell can replicate before it self-destructs. In a study published in the January 2004 issue of Neuro-oncology, investigators found that telomerase activity was at least five times higher in children with these brain tumors than in normal brain cells and that EGCG strongly inhibited telomerase activity in a dose-dependent manner.
Green tea may also reduce the increased risk for colon cancer caused by a high fat diet. An animal study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 2003 found that when green tea was given along with a diet high in omega 6 fat (in the form of corn oil), the amount of pro-inflammatory compounds produced in the colon (5-lipoxygenase, leukotriene A4 hydrolase, and leukotriene B4) was significantly lower, as was the resulting number of precancerous colon cells (aberrant crypt foci). Green tea consumption even reduced the amount of abdominal fat produced in the animals that received it compared to controls.
While we certainly do not recommend smoking, if you or someone you love smokes, or if you must be around smokers and are exposed to second hand smoke, drinking green tea can offer some protection against lung cancer. A human pilot study recently confirmed the protective effects of green tea against lung cancer seen in cell culture and animal studies. The study, published in the November 2004 issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research evaluated the effect of green tea (5 cups per day) on 3 heavy smokers (>10 cigarettes a day) and 3 individuals who had never smoked. When the study subjects were drinking green tea, DNA damage caused by smoking was decreased, cell growth was inhibited, and cellular triggers for apoptosis (cell suicide) in abnormal cells increased.
Another larger four month study of heavy smokers involving 100 women and 33 men found that levels of urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, a marker of free radical damage to DNA, dropped significantly in individuals drinking decaffeinated green but not black tea. Decaffeinated green tea was especially effective in reducing DNA damage in individuals who lack the genetic ability to produce normal amounts of an enzyme called glutathione S-transferase, which plays a key role in the liver's ability to detoxify many of the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Individuals whose genetic inheritance does not include the GSTM1 and GSTT1 variants of the genes that instruct the cell to produce glutathione S-transferase are more susceptible to developing many different cancers. For these individuals, green tea may be especially beneficial.
Research by a multi-departmental team from UCLA has produced valuable insights into how green tea extract might be capable of acting against the invasive growth of bladder cancer tumors. Green tea extract has been shown, via a mechanism that affects cell movement, to target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
For cancer to grow and spread, the malignant cells must be able to move, and their movement depends on a process called actin remodeling, which itself is carefully regulated by complex signaling pathways, including the Rho pathway.
By inducing Rho signaling, green tea causes cancer cells to mature more rapidly and to bind together more closely, a process called cell adhesion. Both their increased maturity and cell adhesion inhibit cancer cells' mobility.
Cancer cells are invasive and green tea extract interrupts the invasive process of the cancer. In effect, the green tea extract may keep the cancer cells confined and localized, where they are easier to treat and the prognosis is better.
About 56,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year, making it the fifth most common cancer in the United States. About half of all bladder cancers are believed to be related to cigarette smoking. Bladder cancer can be difficult to detect in the early, most treatable stages, yet, when not found early, the tumors can be aggressive, and more than half of patients with advanced cancers experience recurrences.
Understanding How Green Tea Fights Cancer
Spanish and British scientists have discovered at least one of the mechanisms through which green tea helps to prevent certain types of cancer, according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Cancer Research.
ECGC, a catechin present in green tea in amounts about 5 times higher than in black tea, inhibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which cancer cells need to be able to grow, and which is a well recognized target of anti-cancer drugs.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity In Type 2 Diabetes
A study published in the August 2004 issue of BMC Pharmacology, in which oral glucose tolerance tests were given to healthy humans after they consumed green tea, showed that it increased the body's ability to utilize blood sugar.
One of the mechanisms through which green tea improves insulin sensitivity has recently been identified in laboratory studies that show that epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) does a good deal more to prevent type 2 diabetes than lower the production of free radicals. EGCG also works on the genetic level, causing a reduction in the number of messenger RNAs that direct liver cells to produce the enzymes involved in the creation of glucose (sugar).
Protects Against Kidney Disease
An animal study published in the January 2005 issue of Pharmacological Research suggests yet another beneficial effect of green tea consumption: the prevention of kidney dysfunction in persons who must take powerful immunosuppressant drugs, for example, after an organ transplant.
One such drug, cyclosporine A, while a very effective immunosuppressant, also markedly elevates the production of free radicals highly toxic to the kidneys. In this study, rats given green tea as their drinking water along with cyclosporine A produced far fewer damaging free radicals than rats given plain water. In addition, a number of other indicators of kidney function (serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, uric acid and urinary excretion of glucose) were significantly better in rats given green tea.
Prevents Osteoporosis And Periodontal Diseases
Excessive bone loss is a characteristic feature not only of osteoporosis but of periodontal disease. Green tea supports healthy bones and teeth both by protecting osteoblasts (the cells responsible for building bone) from destruction by free radicals, and by inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone).
Another benefit of green tea consumption for those with periodontal disease: green tea short circuits the damaging effects of the bacteria most responsible for gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis. P. gingivalis causes gum damage by producing toxic byproducts such as phenylacetic acid and by stimulating the activity and production of enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs), which destroy both the mineral and organic constituents that make up the matrix of our bones. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits P. gingivalis' production of both phenylacetic acid and MMPs.
Protects The Liver From Alcohol And Other Harmful Chemicals
Unlike some herbs, green tea's protective effects do not appear to affect two of the liver enzymes most often responsible for detoxifying and eliminating drugs, cytochrome P-450 2D6 and 3A4. This suggests that green tea might be safely consumed when taking medications primarily dependent upon the CYP2D6 or CYP3A4 pathways of metabolism. Hopefully, future research studies will bear out this potential benefit.
On the other hand, one study found that Japanese green tea did increase the activity of the CYP1A1 enzyme. Researchers hypothesized that the increase in activity of this liver enzyme may be one of the ways in which green tea helps protect against cancers caused by various dietary carcinogens.
Promotes Fat Loss
Green tea not only promotes fat loss, but specifically, the loss of visceral fat, fat that accumulates in the tissues lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding the intestines (viscera) and internal organs. Unlike fat deposits on the hips and thighs (which result in the so-called "pear" body shape), visceral fat (which produces the "apple" body shape) is highly associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Green tea contains three major components that promote fat loss: catechins, caffeine and theanine. Studies suggest that green tea compounds promote fat loss by inhibiting both gastric and pancreatic lipase, the enzymes that digest triglycerides, and fatty acid synthetase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing fatty acids into the form in which they can be stored in the body's adipose (fat) cells.
Not only did the men drinking green tea lose weight and fat, but the amount of their LDL cholesterol damaged by free radicals also dropped significantly. Since atherosclerotic plaques develop when cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream is damaged or oxidized, green tea's ability to prevent these oxidation reactions may explain some of its protective effects against cardiovascular diseases.
Increases Exercise Endurance
Green tea's catechins appear to stimulate the use of fatty acids by liver and muscle cells. In muscle cells, the ability to burn more fat translates into a reduction in the rate at which glycogen, the form in which carbohydrates are stored for ready access in muscle, is used up, thus allowing for longer exercise times. Green tea's effect on muscle cells' ability to take in and burn fatty acids, speeding up fat breakdown, is also thought to be the reason why it helps weight loss.
Protects Against Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer's Disease And Parkinson's Disease
Damage to brain cells in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases seems to result from the combination of a number of damaging factors including excessive inflammation and increased levels of iron, both of which lead to increased free radical production, exhaust the brain's supply of protective antioxidants and trigger the production of certain proteins, such as amyloid-beta, which promote apoptosis (cell suicide).
Green tea catechins, until recently thought to work simply as antioxidants, are now known to invoke a wide spectrum of neuroprotective cellular mechanisms. These include iron chelation, scavenging of free radicals, activation of survival genes and cell signaling pathways, and regulation of mitochondrial function. (The mitochondria are the energy production factories inside our cells. When they are not working properly, they generate many free radicals and little energy.) The end result is a significant lessening of damage to brain cells.
Iron accumulation in specific brain areas and free radical damage to brain cells are considered the major damaging factors responsible for a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders including both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
In the brain, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been shown to act as an iron chelator, binding to and removing iron, thus preventing it from contributing to the production of free radicals. In addition to removing iron, EGCG also increases the activity of two major antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, further helping to decrease free radical damage.
Another active compound in green tea, epicatechin (EC), reduces the formation of a protein called amyloid beta. Plaque like deposits of amyloid beta in the brain are a defining characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Green tea polyphenols have also demonstrated the ability to affect cell signaling pathways, in particular the MAPK pathways, which are triggered by oxidative stress (free radicals), and themselves set in motion a series of chemical reactions so damaging that they can result in brain cell death. MAPK signaling pathways inside brain cells are thought to play a critical role in neurodegenerative diseases.
Green Tea Is A Healthy Habit To Get Into
The more it's subjected to scientific scrutiny, the better green tea looks as a health tonic. The Chinese and Japanese consume it as much or more as Americans drink coffee it's a staple of both cultures. Here's a list of its beneficial effects, just based on recent research published in major journals:
- Prevention and treatment of cancer
- Reduction of blood pressure
- Protects the brain and nervous system from oxidation and excitotoxins
- Reduces cavities
- Improves cholesterol profiles
- Helps clear arteries
Getting your green tea in one of those awful corn syrupy bottled drinks will probably negate its benefits. Try it plain, hot or cold, it's a very benign tasting beverage not likely to offend even picky palettes.
Green Tea Squeeze Play
Posted By: Jon Barron
Green tea is one of the best known supplements in the world. It has been touted for everything from weight loss to cancer prevention to longevity. It's used by serious herbalists (who actually understand it), and it's used in some of the most basic formulas in the world such as One A Day WeightSmart, albeit at meaningless pixie dust levels. But more to the point, it's back in the news with the release of a new study that shows it may actually help slow the progression of prostate cancer. But this newsletter isn't about the virtues of green tea, although we will explore them. Instead, it's about some of the shenanigans going on behind the scenes concerning not just green tea, but all supplements, and even some basic vitamins, specifically B6.
But first, let's talk about some of the virtues of green tea as demonstrated in clinical studies.
The Biochemicals Of Health In Green Tea
Green tea antioxidants are of the same family as grape seed and pine bark extracts. They are polyphenols, chief of which are the flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. In green tea, the main proanthocyanidins are the catechins, and the most powerful of the catechins is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), found in the high concentrations in green tea. Why don't other teas have similar properties, particularly since many of them come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis? Quite simply, what sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are lightly fermented and steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from heavily fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
And while on the topic of green tea, I should probably mention its lesser known sibling, white tea. The main difference between white and green tea is that white tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than the green tea leaves. It should be noted that white tea actually trumps green tea in several ways. First, whereas green tea is lightly fermented, white tea is totally unfermented leaving even more of the EGCG intact. Second, studies have shown that the young, white tea leaves retain antioxidants in higher concentrations than does green tea. In fact, the concentration of antioxidants in white tea is approximately three times higher than in green tea. Bottom line: anything we say about the health benefits of green tea also apply to white tea, but even more so.
Note: if you drink your tea (as opposed to taking a supplement), adding cream or milk to the tea may destroy the antioxidant benefits (1, 2, 3). Although the studies are conflicting, it's probably best to error on the side of caution. The studies are far less conflicted when it comes to milk reducing the antioxidant potential found in dark chocolate. The mechanism is simple. The caseins in the dairy interact with the polyphenols in the tea or chocolate and decrease their effectiveness. Then again, if you use a concentrated, full-spectrum green tea extract, you avoid the problem altogether.
Green Tea Health Benefits
As I mentioned earlier, the reported benefits of green tea are multitudinous and well studied. For example, green tea inhibits tumor growth in a variety of cancers, including: breast, lung, and prostate cancers. Specifically, the EGCG in green tea works to suppress angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels that tumors need to survive. And if that's not enough -- stopping the growth of cancer at the front end -- green tea polyphenols have been shown to inhibit metastasis, the spread of cancer at the back end. And finally, EGCG is the first known natural telomerase inhibitor. That is to say, it eliminates the "immortality" of cancer cells which is their trademark and which makes them so deadly. The bottom line is that green tea is particularly effective in destroying the causes of leukemia, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and seems to provide the best protection known in terms of preventing lung cancer. And green tea seems to be able to almost totally prevent cancer causing DNA damage in smokers -- a possible explanation as to why the Japanese, who are among the world's heaviest smokers, have such a low incidence of lung cancer.
And the benefits of green tea don't stop there. It has also been shown to be effective in regulating blood sugar, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, and in reversing the ravages of heart disease. (Incidentally, the Japanese, who drink large amounts of green tea, have some of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in the world.)
And finally, green tea has great benefits for the brain as well. It serves as an effective MAO inhibitor. It also protects against brain-cell death from glucose oxidase, over-production of nitric oxide, and it lowers the amount of free iron reaching the brain (a bad thing). The net result is that there are strong indications that green tea extract may play a major role in protecting against both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Green Tea Slows Prostate Cancer
Now let's turn to the study in the news that triggered this newsletter. The headlines started making the media rounds a couple of weeks ago, Green tea slows prostate cancer. In summary, according to the results of a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, men with prostate cancer who consumed the active compounds in a green tea extract demonstrated a significant reduction in serum markers predictive of prostate cancer progression.
The investigational agent used in the trial, Polyphenon E (provided by Polyphenon Pharma), may have the potential to lower the incidence and slow the progression of prostate cancer, said James A. Cardelli, Ph.D., professor and director of basic and translational research in the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport.
The study included 26 men, aged 41 to 72 years, diagnosed with prostate cancer and scheduled for radical prostatectomy. Patients consumed four capsules containing Polyphenon E until the day before surgery four capsules are equivalent to about 12 cups of normally brewed concentrated green tea, according to Cardelli. The time of study for 25 of the 26 patients ranged from 12 days to 73 days, with a median time of 34.5 days.
Findings showed a significant reduction in serum levels of HGF, VEGF and PSA after treatment (HGF and VEGF are good prognostic indicators of metastatic disease), with some patients demonstrating reductions in levels of greater than 30 percent, according to the researchers.
Cardelli and his colleagues found that other biomarkers were also positively affected. There were only a few reported side effects associated with this study, and liver function remained normal. Said Cardelli, There is reasonably good evidence that many cancers are preventable, and our studies using plant-derived substances support the idea that plant compounds found in a healthy diet can play a role in preventing cancer development and progression.
The Polyphenon E Curve Ball
So what is this miracle antioxidant Polyphenon E found in green tea and used in the study? Well, according to the National Cancer Institute, Polyphenon E is a substance being studied in the prevention of cancer. It is made from decaffeinated green tea, and contains chemicals called catechins, which are antioxidants. And according to its manufacturer, Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd., Polyphenon is a highly purified tea catechin extract, and is going to be the first pharmaceutical grade green tea catechin in the world.
That sounds pretty amazing and pretty unique. The reality, however, is a tad less dramatic. The Polyphenon E used in the prostate study came in a 416.7 mg capsule with a breakdown as follows: 200 mg EGCG, 48.5 mg EGC, 34.2 mg EC, 20 mg ECG, and other tea catechins, 28.8 mg pregelatinized starch, 2.25 mg colloidal silicon dioxide, and 2.25 mg magnesium stearate. In other words, there's nothing particularly special about Polyphenon E. It's a fairly standard mix of green tea catechins. And as far as being pharmaceutical grade, green tea extracts now come standardized to 95-98 percent polyphenol content. That is about as pharmaceutical grade as you are going to get.
So, does it matter that tests were being conducted using a standardized green tea extract with a registered trademark for a name and that the National Cancer Institute is singling out for special attention?
And the answer in this case is, Yes, big time!
The FDA Seeks To Outlaw Pyridoxamine (Vitamin B6)
Your first thought might be, How could it matter? Lots of companies trademark names of ingredients. Heck, I've done it with some of my formulations. But in those cases, you're just talking about marketing differentiation. But with Polyphenon E, you have a whole different ballgame.
First, think about the status of green tea in the world. It's only known side effect is that it might make it more difficult for you to sleep if you took too much of it too close to bedtime. In exchange for this minor effect, you get all of the benefits cited above (cancer, heart disease, longevity, etc.), all demonstrated in study after study after study. In point of fact, you would be hard pressed to find a single drug in the world that has so few side effects and so many benefits and so many studies to back it up. Even the so-called miracle drug, aspirin, is not as clean. Remember, the smallest dosage of aspirin causes internal bleeding.
And yet, given green tea's remarkable safety record and proven benefits, not a word of these benefits can be mentioned in connection with any product being sold that contains green tea -- not in the US, not in Europe, not anywhere. And yet, Polyphenon E is being pitched as a potential cancer cure all over the internet and in medical literature. It even has a featured position on the Prostate Cancer Foundation website. How can this be?
Perhaps we can find the answer by looking at the curious case of pyridoxamine, the only form of B6 that can be taken without fear of peripheral neuropathy, and the only form, according to some experts, that should ever be used in supplements. And yet, given all this, pharmaceutical interests have filed a petition with the FDA seeking to ban the use of pyridoxamine in supplements. And the FDA is seriously considering it. Why? Because pyridoxamine has shown promise in protecting against diabetic complications! According to the FDA, if low cost pyridoxamine was available in supplements, there would be no incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to invest the money necessary to get it classified as a prescription drug! In other words, if there is enough money involved, the FDA is quite willing to reclassify everyday supplements as pharmaceutical drugs.
For a more detailed look at this issue, check out William Faloon's article in the most recent issue of Life Extension Magazine. But for now, let's cut to the heart of the matter.
The Green Tea Squeeze Play
When it comes to herbs and supplements, governments all over the world do everything in their power to prevent you from ever seeing any information at all that might indicate they offer any real health benefits. But like Catch 22, they catch you coming and going.
- If you can't prove the benefits to their satisfaction (and how much more do we need to see on the benefits of green tea), you can't talk about the benefits because they would amount to unsubstantiated health claims.
- On the other hand, if you can prove the benefits, you can't sell the supplements because they would no longer be supplements. They would be drugs and therefore too valuable to be left in the hands of anyone but the pharmaceutical companies.
- Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.
So is there any way out of this conundrum? Absolutely! Just join the club aka, the pharmaceutical industry. And get your supplement classified as pharmaceutical grade. Then you can make all the health claims you want, and charge 600% more for essentially the same supplement. This appears to be the route that Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd has chosen to follow. And who gets hurt by this squeeze play? Only you, the consumer!
you're denied mountains of information on a plethora of supplements that can potentially save your life. Or you're forced to pay many times over the actual cost to get an officially sanctioned version of the same supplement that actually comes with information.
Over the years, I've sounded off repeatedly on how the alternative health community continually gets itself hung up on the pinstripes of major legislation that is highly, highly unlikely to ever pass -- all the while missing the true threat to health and nutrition, the co-option that goes on in the background without the requirement of any legislation being signed.
You are witnessing that co-option as a potential walk-off home run with pyridoxamine -- and as a squeeze play in the making with green tea and Polyphenon E
Green Tea Information: Science Daily 10/31/2012 - Green Tea Found To Reduce Rate Of Some GI Cancers
Green Tea Information: Add Citrus Juice, Vitamin C To Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Health Benefits
Green Tea Information: Drt. Ben Kim 9/14/2006 - Reduce Your Risk Of Stroke
Green Tea Information: News Target 9/13/2006 - Reduce Risk Of Death
Green Tea Information: Natural News 8/17/2009 - Five Cups & More Of Green Tea Billed As Best Defense From Cancer
Green Tea Information: Natural News 8/25/2009 - Green Tea Nutrients Prevent Leukemia
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/8/2009 - Green Tea Could Naturally Prevent And Treat Osteoporosis
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/2/2009 - Green Tea Fights Blood & Liver Cancer, And Pneumonia
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/9/2009 - Green Tea Reduces Risk Of Blood Cancers By 42 Percent
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/20/2009 - Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer, Researchers Say
Green Tea Information: Natural News 12/17/2009 - Green Tea Nutrients Prevent And Treat Brain Disorders
Green Tea Information: Natural News 2/5/2010 - Green Tea Extracts Halt Growth Of Prostate Cancer Tumors
Green Tea Information: Natural News 3/10/2010 - Green Tea Nutrients May Prevent Glaucoma
Green Tea Information: Natural News 5/27/2010 - Green Tea Blocks Lung Cancer
Green Tea Information: Natural News 8/17/2010 - Polyphenols In Green Tea May Protect Health Of Diabetics
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/20/2010 - Drinking Tea Cuts Risk Of Heart Disease By One Third
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/25/2010 - Tea Consumption Slows Cognitive Decline In Older Adults
Green Tea Information: Natural News 12/19/2010 - Fight The Flu With Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Natural News 1/12/2011 - Green Tea Better At Preventing Cancer Than Previously Thought
Green Tea Information: Natural News 4/15/2011 - Green Tea Fights Cancer, Free Radical Damage, Aging And Obesity
Green Tea Information: Natural News 4/20/2011 - Green Tea Lowers Body Weight And Reduces Fat Accumulation
Green Tea Information: Natural News 6/21/2011 - Green Tea Polyphenols Shown To Prevent Fatal Autoimmune Diseases
Green Tea Information: Natural News 9/21/2011 - Green Tea To Improve Cholesterol Metabolism
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/18/2011 - Green Tea Shown To Fight Obesity
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/25/2011 - Green Tea Inhibits Extra Weight Gain And Prevent Obesity
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/22/2011 - Green Tea Supplements Prevent Flu Better Than Vaccination
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/23/2011 - Does Green Tea Have Caffeine? Seven Things You Need To Know
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/30/2011 - Drinking Green Tea Can Help To Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol Levels
Green Tea Information: Natural News 12/2/2011 - Green Tea Found To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
Green Tea Information: Natural News 12/3/2011 - Prevent Cancer With Green Tea - Know How Much Is Needed
Green Tea Information: Natural News 5/8/2012 - Green Tea Intake May Reduce The Risk Of Gynecologic Cancers
Green Tea Information: Natural News 7/3/2012 - Green Tea Drinkers Show Less Disability With Age
Green Tea Information: Natural News 7/10/2012 - Proof That Green Tea Reduces Bad Cholesterol Levels
Green Tea Information: Natural News 9/14/2012 - Green Tea Catechins Shown To Shrink Cancerous Tumors In Humans
Green Tea Information: Natural News 10/2/2012 - Green Tea Plus Citrus Provides New Level Of Cancer Protection
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/5/2012 - More Research Verifies Green Tea's Cancer Fighting Abilities
Green Tea Information: Natural News 11/27/2012 - Green Tea Shown To Prevent Blood Glucose Spikes
Green Tea Information: Natural News 12/26/2012 - Recent Findings Reveal Green Tea Treats Acne
Green Tea Information: Natural News 2/14/2013 - Green Tea, Red Wine Stop Alzheimer's In Its Tracks
Green Tea Information: Natural News 2/21/2013 - Another Reason To Drink Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Natural News 3/21/2013 - Green Tea Lowers Cholesterol
Green Tea Information: Natural News 9/1/2013 - Green Tea Really Does Improve Your Memory
Green Tea Information: Natural News 4/10/2014 - Another Amazing Reason To Drink Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Natural News 4/18/2014 - Reduce Glaucoma Risk By Drinking More Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Natural News 5/12/2014 - Green Tea Inhibits cholesterol, Scientists Crack The Code
Green Tea Information: Natural News 8/19/2014 - Green Tea Compound Again Validated In The Fight Against Cancer
Green Tea Information: Health Freedom Alliance 12/19/2011 - Health Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Jon Barron 7/6/2009 - Green Tea Squeeze Play
Green Tea Information: Jon Barron 10/25/2011 - The Scoop On Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Cancer N.D. 3/31/2008
Green Tea Information: Moss Reports 10/1/2001 - Cancer
Green Tea Information: Moss Reports 11/26/2006 - Found To Reduce Mortality Risk
Green Tea Information: Moss Reports 8/30/2009 - Good News About Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 1/2/2000 - Weight Loss
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 9/3/2000 - Good For The Heart
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 9/10/2000 - Tea Is Very High In Fluoride
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 9/17/2000 - May Fight Skin Cancer
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 3/10/2001 - May Not Prevent Stomach Cancer
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 12/15/2004 - Cancer
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 2/15/2005 - Endurance
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 3/5/2005 - Green Tea
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 10/8/2005 - Alzheimers
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 9/30/2006 - Is Conventional Medicine Backing Away
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 11/18/2006 - Fights AIDS
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 4/11/2007 - Green Tea Soda
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 4/23/2007 - Protect You From Autoimmune Diseases
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 10/13/2007 - Beats Avandia For Diabetes
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 7/24/2008 - Green Tea Protects Against Heart Disease
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 7/29/2008 - How Tea Can Keep Your Mind Young
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 11/28/2009 - Green Tea Extracts May Protect You From Oral Cancer
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 4/29/2010 - Green Tea Extract May Be More Effective Than You Thought
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 5/20/2010 - Green Tea Could Reduce Glaucoma Risk
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 7/6/2010 - May Lower Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, And Triglycerides
Green Tea Information: Dr. Mercola 12/1/2010 - Green Tea Extracts Plus Vitamin D Boost Bone Health