In my new book, The Gene Therapy Plan, you’ll find a lot of information about the health benefits associated with drinking tea. Various studies have explored the association between green tea consumption and reduced prostate cancer risk. Both lab and animal studies show that green tea significantly reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

In particular, green tea (camellia sinensis) is good for our health because it has amazing antioxidant properties.  Antioxidants are important molecules that fight free radicals, which are known to damage DNA and destroy cells resulting in diseases like cancer.  Green tea helps to prevent or reduce health problems.

If you look at people who live in places like China and Japan, where green tea has been a staple for many centuries, they have significantly lower prostate cancer rates compared to the United States.  The health benefits of green tea are attributed to a plant compound known as catechin. There are many types of catechins found in green tea; however, the most potent type is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Many studies demonstrate the efficacy of green tea in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

  • Using human prostate cancer cells, researchers exposed cells to EGCG followed by radiation treatment. Cells pretreated with EGCG before radiation were less likely to die after radiation than cells that weren’t pretreated.
  • Histone deacetylases (HDAC) are largely found in cancer cells. One study treated prostate cancer cells with green tea, which reduced (HDAC) activity and resulted in the death of prostate cancer cells.
  • In one study, a group of 60 men with high-grade prostatic cancer were either given green tea catechin capsules or placebo. In the placebo group, 9 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, whereas one man developed prostate cancer in the green tea catechin group.

In studies exploring the effects of green tea on prostate cancer, research findings are mixed. Yet, a substantial number of studies show the benefits of green tea. Because antioxidants are plentiful in green tea, people should incorporate it in their diet.

Although green tea is good for us, all brands aren’t made equally. For one thing, green teas come in different forms: supplements, brewed teas, or bottled beverages. Also, the quantity of catechin and EGCG varies based on manufacturers. A report conducted by ConsumerLab tested different forms of green teas available to consumers, which revealed some interesting findings summarized below:

Supplemental forms provide the highest amount of catechins and EGCG overall but may also contain high levels of caffeine

Brewed green teas that contain nylon filters reduce the actual amount of catechins and EGCG per serving. Some leaves that came from China were found to contain lead. (Note: use filters or tea bags to prevent lead from making it into your cup of tea and never eat the leaves because they may be contaminated.)

Bottled teas contained the lowest amount of EGCG, included additives like artificial sweeteners, and added high amounts of caffeine.

Although green tea is beneficial, you should read the food labels to ensure that your green tea product contains clear information on what you’re actually consuming. When it comes to green tea, check out the catechin and EGCG amounts as well as how much caffeine and sugar it contains.

Photo credit: cjrfoto
National Cancer Institute. Questions and Answers About Green Tea. Accessed August 31, 2013.
Prostate.Net. Green Tea: Prostate Health Facts. Accessed August 31, 2013.