Are You Getting the Full Benefits of Drinking Green Tea?April 2018
By Michael Downey
Green tea has been recognized as a natural defense against disorders ranging from cardiovascular disease and cancer to depression and cognitive decline.1-5
Like other “smart drinks” such as coffee or cocoa, the key factor behind green tea’s many health benefits lies in its rich polyphenol content. These healthy compounds have been associated6—like green tea itself7—with lower all-cause mortality.
Many of the benefits associated with green tea require consumption of more than one cup per day. These benefits are usually seen in a dose-response relationship, meaning the more you drink, the more protection you get.
If you want all the same protective benefits—but do not necessarily want to drink that much every day—a unique option has emerged.
Thanks to a patented processing technology, a rich-tasting, Kenyan-sourced tea has been created that boasts three times the polyphenol content of most popular green teas.
It is so packed with polyphenols that just one cup daily delivers the same polyphenol levels as up to three cups of other green teas.
Green Tea’s Secret Weapon
The polyphenols in green tea play critical roles in neutralizing free radicals, quelling inflammation, and supporting cell signaling.8-12
In the colon, bacteria break polyphenols down into smaller molecules, notably phenols. These and other polyphenol-derived molecules are carried to the liver, where they’re further transformed and then transported to tissues to deliver potent bioactive effects.13
A compelling study conducted on individuals 65 and older demonstrated that those in the highest third of total urinary polyphenols (which reflect circulating levels of polyphenols) had a 30% lower all-cause mortality risk over the 12-year follow up, compared with those in the lowest polyphenol third.6
Focusing on polyphenol-rich green tea itself, a meta-analysis found that the people who consumed the highest amount of green tea had a 20% reduction in all-cause mortality risk compared to those who drank the least.7 In fact, a recent analysis showed that 15 polyphenols from green tea have 200 human target genes, including those involved in cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, muscular disease, and inflammation.14
This broad-spectrum, multitargeted action is precisely what’s required to seriously reduce chronic, age-related disease and significantly prolong life.
Let’s examine some exciting clinical studies validating green tea’s ability to combat a spectrum of age-related disorders.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading killer of older Americans,15 making it a major contributor to all-cause mortality.
Chinese scientists investigated the history of 1,507 men and women newly diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). Those who consumed one to five cups daily exhibited a 46% reduced risk of developing hypertension, compared to those consuming less than one cup daily. And those who had drunk over five cups daily were 65% less likely to develop hypertension.16
Another team mined data on 194,965 individuals from nine stroke studies. It showed that those who drank three or more cups of green or black tea daily demonstrated a 21% lower risk of stroke, compared to those who drank less than a cup of tea daily.17
To assess cardiovascular mortality risk, researchers conducted a multi-year study on 40,530 adults aged 40-79 who had no history of stroke, heart disease, or cancer at baseline. They concluded that those who drank 3-4 cups of green tea daily had a 23% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those drinking less than a cup daily. And those who drank five or more cups daily showed a 26% lower risk.2
Green tea is prominent among a few beverages, such as coffee and cocoa, that are increasingly consumed for both pleasure and for their cognitive benefits.4,5
One recent review concluded that green tea could be a “very promising [agent] in the search for potent anti-Alzheimer’s drugs.”18
Another found that green tea improves cognition and working memory. The researchers concluded that these benefits “cannot be attributed to a single constituent,” but rather to green tea as a beverage.19
And in a compelling prospective study, consuming green tea for just two months was found to improve cognitive function in 30 patients with severe Alzheimer’s.20
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the US.15 Fortunately, green-tea polyphenols have been shown in multiple preclinical and clinical studies to suppress the development and aggressiveness of many different cancers.21-27
One group of researchers has suggested that drinking green tea may reduce the risk of several human malignancies. By regulating multiple signaling pathways, green-tea polyphenols can inhibit angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) and metastasis (the spread of cancer), while inducing growth arrest and apoptosis (beneficial cell-death).28
All living things rely on their genetic blueprint, preserved in DNA, to maintain functional molecules. But many factors, such as oxidative stress and environmental toxins, can damage DNA.
Green tea has demonstrated DNA-protective effects even during exposure to environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke.29-31
In one randomized, controlled trial, scientists found that compared to baseline, smokers who drank four cups of green tea daily experienced an approximate 31% decrease in a urinary biomarker of oxidative DNA damage.32
This difficult-to-treat disease is experienced by an estimated 16.2 million American adults in an average year.33
A study of people aged 70 and over showed that those consuming two to three cups of green tea daily had a 4% lower prevalence of mild and severe depressive symptoms, compared to those drinking less than one cup. Those consuming four or more cups daily had a 44% lower prevalence.3
People with gum disease are 34%-72% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and other complications, compared to those in good oral health.34,35
Research suggests that green-tea polyphenols—specifically catechins—inhibit periodontal pathogens. In addition, researchers recommend 2-3 cups of green tea daily for the prevention of periodontal disease.36
Note that all of these studies have one thing in common: To get the maximum benefits of green tea, you have to consume substantially more than one cup daily. But when it comes to health benefits and safety, not all green tea is the same.
Understanding Green Tea
To put a common misconception to rest, all tea—black, green, white, or oolong—comes from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The vast differences arise largely from the time of harvest and how the leaves are treated and processed after being picked.
Positioned at the start of the tea spectrum, green tea is the oldest known form of tea.37 As soon as the leaves are picked, they are heated by steaming or firing to lock in their bright, green character. This provides green tea’s uplifting flavor profile, which might be described as fresh and grassy.
Purple tea is only grown in Kenya at that country’s highest peak, where it produces purple-reddish leaves. It has only been produced recently after decades of research into developing a tea that would be drought-, disease-, and pest-resistant. The high altitude packs it with plant-protecting anthocyanins—which provide excellent health benefits for humans as well.
Anthocyanins are the same bioactive natural pigments responsible for the distinctive color in blueberries, cranberries, grapes, and even red cabbage or eggplants. Although berries are a rich source, any food or drink containing anthocyanins can provide antimicrobial, cell-protective, antitumor, lipid-lowering, and neuroprotective properties—all of which have implications for preventing disease and promoting good health.38-40
Thanks to a patented extract technology, both of these Kenyan varieties of green tea are now available in tea crystals that deliver higher levels of polyphenols than regular green tea—much higher levels.
The secret behind green tea’s protective effects is its rich polyphenol content, which lowers the risk of diseases ranging from cancer to depression, and reduces all-cause mortality.
Many people drink a single cup of green tea daily, assuming that they are getting all the polyphenol benefits demonstrated in green tea studies. But these studies are usually based on consuming at least 2-3 cups daily.
For those who want all the same protective polyphenol benefits—but do not necessarily want to drink that many cups—there’s an impressive alternative.
A Kenyan-sourced, pesticide-free, Rainforest Alliance certified, and rich-tasting tea is so packed with polyphenols that just one cup daily delivers the same polyphenol levels as up to three cups of regular green tea.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
- Zheng JS, Yang J, Fu YQ, et al. Effects of green tea, black tea, and coffee consumption on the risk of esophageal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(1):1-16.
- Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, et al. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. Jama. 2006;296(10):1255-65.
- Niu K, Hozawa A, Kuriyama S, et al. Green tea consumption is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(6):1615-22.
- Olivera-Pueyo J, Pelegrin-Valero C. Dietary supplements for cognitive impairment. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2017;45(Supplement):37-47.
- Kuriyama S, Hozawa A, Ohmori K, et al. Green tea consumption and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study from the Tsurugaya Project 1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(2):355-61.
- Zamora-Ros R, Rabassa M, Cherubini A, et al. High concentrations of a urinary biomarker of polyphenol intake are associated with decreased mortality in older adults. J Nutr. 2013;143(9):1445-50.
- Tang J, Zheng JS, Fang L, et al. Tea consumption and mortality of all cancers, CVD and all causes: a meta-analysis of eighteen prospective cohort studies. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(5):673-83.
- Forester SC, Lambert JD. The role of antioxidant versus pro-oxidant effects of green tea polyphenols in cancer prevention. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011;55(6):844-54.
- Afzal M, Safer AM, Menon M. Green tea polyphenols and their potential role in health and disease. Inflammopharmacology. 2015;23(4):151-61.
- Kawai K, Tsuno NH, Kitayama J, et al. Epigallocatechin gallate induces apoptosis of monocytes. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005;115(1):186-91.
- Ran ZH, Chen C, Xiao SD. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate ameliorates rats colitis induced by acetic acid. Biomed Pharmacother. 2008;62(3):189-96.
- Mandel S, Weinreb O, Amit T, et al. Cell signaling pathways in the neuroprotective actions of the green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate: implications for neurodegenerative diseases. J Neurochem. 2004;88(6):1555-69.
- Anderson JJ, Nieman DC. Diet Quality-The Greeks Had It Right! Nutrients. 2016;8(10).
- Zhang S, Shan L, Li Q, et al. Systematic Analysis of the Multiple Bioactivities of Green Tea through a Network Pharmacology Approach. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:512081.
- Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm. Accessed January 24, 2018.
- Yang YC, Lu FH, Wu JS, et al. The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(14):1534-40.
- Arab L, Liu W, Elashoff D. Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis. Stroke. 2009;40(5):1786-92.
- Jiang Y, Gao H, Turdu G. Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs as potential AChE inhibitors for anti-Alzheimer’s disease: A review. Bioorg Chem. 2017;75:50-61.
- Mancini E, Beglinger C, Drewe J, et al. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2017;34:26-37.
- Arab H, Mahjoub S, Hajian-Tilaki K, et al. The effect of green tea consumption on oxidative stress markers and cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease: A prospective intervention study. Caspian J Intern Med. 2016;7(3):188-94.
- Matsuo T, Miyata Y, Asai A, et al. Green Tea Polyphenol Induces Changes in Cancer-Related Factors in an Animal Model of Bladder Cancer. PLoS One. 2017;12(1):e0171091.
- Tsai YJ, Chen BH. Preparation of catechin extracts and nanoemulsions from green tea leaf waste and their inhibition effect on prostate cancer cell PC-3. Int J Nanomedicine. 2016;11:1907-26.
- Yamada S, Tsukamoto S, Huang Y, et al. Epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate up-regulates microRNA-let-7b expression by activating 67-kDa laminin receptor signaling in melanoma cells. Sci Rep. 2016;6:19225.
- Ni CX, Gong H, Liu Y, et al. Green Tea Consumption and the Risk of Liver Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Nutr Cancer. 2017;69(2):211-20.
- Lassed S, Deus CM, Djebbari R, et al. Protective Effect of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze) against Prostate Cancer: From In Vitro Data to Algerian Patients. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:1691568.
- Oya Y, Mondal A, Rawangkan A, et al. Down-regulation of histone deacetylase 4, -5 and -6 as a mechanism of synergistic enhancement of apoptosis in human lung cancer cells treated with the combination of a synthetic retinoid, Am80 and green tea catechin. J Nutr Biochem. 2017;42:7-16.
- Roomi MW, Kalinovsky T, Rath M, et al. Modulation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 secretion by cytokines, inducers and inhibitors in human glioblastoma T-98G cells. Oncol Rep. 2017;37(3):1907-13.
- Shankar S, Ganapathy S, Srivastava RK. Green tea polyphenols: biology and therapeutic implications in cancer. Front Biosci. 2007;12:4881-99.
- Al-Awaida W, Akash M, Aburubaiha Z, et al. Chinese green tea consumption reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and tissues damage in smoke exposed rats. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2014;17(10):740-6.
- Ho CK, Choi SW, Siu PM, et al. Effects of single dose and regular intake of green tea (Camellia sinensis) on DNA damage, DNA repair, and heme oxygenase-1 expression in a randomized controlled human supplementation study. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014;58(6):1379-83.
- Liang W, Binns CW, Jian L, et al. Does the consumption of green tea reduce the risk of lung cancer among smokers? Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007;4(1):17-22.
- Hakim IA, Harris RB, Brown S, et al. Effect of increased tea consumption on oxidative DNA damage among smokers: a randomized controlled study. J Nutr. 2003;133(10):3303s-9s.
- Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml. Accessed January 24, 2018.
- Blaizot A, Vergnes JN, Nuwwareh S, et al. Periodontal diseases and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis of observational studies. Int Dent J. 2009;59(4):197-209.
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