Green Tea and Prostate Health
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Green tea (Camillia sinesis) is a potent antioxidant and an important tool in the quest for prostate health. Green
tea’s medicinal powers are attributed to catechins, potent antioxidants that boast an array of health-promoting
properties. Catechins have been shown to destroy certain bacteria and viruses, enhance the immune system, and
combat several forms of cancer, including prostate cancer. Although there are several different kinds of catechins,
the most powerful is epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG.
In a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research in June 2009, researchers reported that green
tea polyphenols, primarily EGCG, significantly reduced the levels of PSA and two biomarkers for prostate cancer,
hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The study included 26 men who
had prostate cancer and who were scheduled for radical prostatectomy. (McLarty 2009)
Green Tea, High Grade PIN and BPH Green Tea and Prostate Cancer Benefits
It also appears that catechins in green tea may benefit Studies of large populations of men have shown that
men who have pre-cancerous prostate lesions (pros- those who consume green tea regularly are less likely
tate intraepithelial neoplasia, or PIN), a condition that to develop prostate cancer than men who shun the
indicates a high risk of developing “full-on” prostate beverage. (Heilbrun 1986; Jain 1998) In other studies,
cancer. Studies indicate that 30 percent of men who researchers found that the risk of prostate cancer
have a high-grade PIN go on to develop prostate can- decreases proportionally as the amount, frequency,
cer within one year after repeated biopsy. In a 2006 and duration of green tea consumption increases.
study published in Cancer Research, 60 men who (Jian 2004) In terms of amount of tea consumed,
had high-grade PIN participated in the double-blind, men who drank more than three cups of green tea
placebo-controlled study. (Bettuzzi 2006) Men in the daily showed a reduced risk of prostate cancer. In
treatment group received three 200-mg capsules of a large study that evaluated the green tea drinking
catechins daily. After one year, only one tumor was habits of 49,920 men aged 40 to 69 who were
diagnosed among the 30 treated men, compared followed for at least 10 years, the investigators found
with nine cancers found among the 30 controls. The that men who consumed five or more cups of green
researchers also noticed that the men who took the tea daily had a reduced risk of advanced prostate
catechins had reduced lower urinary tract symptoms, cancer when compared with men who drank less
which suggests catechins may be helpful in treating than one cup daily. (Kurahashi 2008)
symptoms of BPH.
Research into the impact of green tea on prostate cancer suggests the following:
• It interferes with the activity of an enzyme called ability to slow the growth of prostate cancer in animal
ortnithine decarboxylase, which plays a role in the models. However, a recent study published in Clinical
“birth” of prostate cancer (Gupta 1999) Cancer Research shows that the EGCG found in green
tea was nearly as effective as COX-2 inhibitors in
• It slows the growth of human prostate cancer cells and
slowing the growth of prostate cancer. (Adhami 2007)
prompts them to “commit suicide” (apoptosis) (Gupta,
Ahmad 2000) • It stimulates the activity of certain immune system cells
that fight tumors. (Butt 2009)
• It encourages the repair of damaged DNA that might
otherwise promote cancer growth (Butt 2009) • A combination of soy protein concentrate and black tea
together significantly reduce serum concentrations of
• It inhibits the activity of an enzyme called COX-2, which
both testosterone and DHT in vivo. (Zhou 2003)
accumulates in prostate cancer tissue and is involved
in the prostate cancer process. (Hussein, Gupta 2005). • Green tea’s antioxidant properties also contributes to its
Research shows that prescription medications called ability to reduce levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a
COX-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex) have the hormone that raises a man’s risk of developing BPH and
Green Tea and Prostatitis
The catechins in green tea have also demonstrated an ability to treat prostatitis. In a rat model of chronic
bacterial prostatitis, the animals were given either placebo, catechins, ciprofloxacin, or catechins plus
ciprofloxacin. The catechins group alone showed modest improvements in inflammation and bacterial
growth compared with the placebo group, but the combination of catechins and ciprofloxacin demonstrated
significant improvements when compared with placebo. (Lee 2005)
A more recent study of green tea extract and prostatitis was published in the Journal of Infection and
Chemotherapy in 2010. Researchers used rat models of chronic prostatitis and found that nanocatechins
(catechins altered using nanotechnology) had more effective anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects on
rat chronic prostatitis than “normal” catechins because the body was able to absorb them better. (Yoon 2010)
The amount of catechin in green tea varies depending on where the tea is cultivated, the diversity of plants
used, the harvest season, and how it is processed. Generally, Japanese green tea has a greater EGCG content
than does Chinese tea. According to an analysis of EGCG content in different types of green tea conducted
by the authors of Foods to Fight Cancer, Sencha (a Japanese green tea) is superior to a dozen other
Japanese and Chinese green tea varieties. (Beliveau 2007) Other Japanese green teas that rank high in
EGCG content include Gyokuro and Matcha. Chinese green tea that is roughly equivalent to Matcha is pito
chun emperor; other Chinese green teas that have a lesser amount of EGCG than Matcha and Pilo chun
emperor are Hunnan, Yuzan, Paimutan, Meng ding, Lung chin, Dong ding, Pou chong, and Tikuan yin.
Dr. Geo Espinosa, N.D., L.Ac, CNS, RH (AHG)
Adhami VM et al. Combined inhibitory effects of green tea polyphenols and selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors on the growth of human prostate cancer
cells both in vitro and in vivo. Clinical Cancer Research 2007; 13:1611-19.
Beliveau R, Gingras D. Foods to Fight Cancer. New York/London: DK Publishing, 2007.
Bettuzzi S et al. Chemoprevention of human prostate cancer by oral administration of green tea catechins in volunteers with high-grade prostate
intraepithelial neoplasia: a preliminary report from a one-year proof-of-principle study. Cancer Research 2006; 66(2):1234-40.
Butt MS, Sultan MT. Green tea: nature’s defense against malignancies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2009; 49(5):463-73.
Gupta S et al. Prostate cancer chemoprevention by green tea: in vitro and in vivo inhibition of testosterone-mediated induction of ornithine
decarboxylase. Cancer Research 1999; 59(9):2115-20.
Gupta S et al. Growth inhibition, cell-cycle dysregulation, and induction of apoptosis by green tea constituent (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in
androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive human prostate carcinoma cells. Toxicology & Applied Pharmacology 2000; 164(1):82-90.
Heilbrun LK et al. Black tea consumption and cancer risk: a prospective study. Br J Cancer 1986; 54:677-83.
Hussain T et al. Green tea constituent epigallocatechin-3-gallate selectively inhibits COX-2 without affecting COX-1 expression in human prostate carcinoma
cells. Intl J Cancer 2005; 113(4):660-69.
Jain MG et al. Alcohol and other beverage use and prostate cancer risk among Canadian Men. Intl J Cancer 1998; 78(6):707-11.
Jian L et al. Protective effect of green tea against prostate cancer: a case-control study in southeast China. Intl J Cancer 2004; 108(1):130-35.
Kurahashi N et al for the JPHC Study Group. Green tea consumption and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: a prospective study. Am J Epidemiol 2008;
Lee YS et al. Synergistic effect between catechin and ciprofloxacin on chronic bacterial prostatitis rat model. Int J Urol 2005 Apr; 12(4): 383-89
McLarty J et al. Tea polyphenols decrease serum levels of prostate-specific antigen, hepatocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor in
prostate cancer patients and inhibit production of hepatocyte growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro. Cancer Prev Res 2009 Jun 19;
University of Maryland Medical Center:
Yoon BI et al. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of nanocatechin in a chronic bacterial prostatitis rat model. J Infect Chemother 2010 Aug 7
Zhou JR et al. Soy phytochemicals and tea bioactive components synergistically inhibit androgen-sensitive human prostate tumors in mice. J Nutr 2003
Feb; 133(2): 516-21
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