Increase Your Green Tea Consumption – May Keep Liver Cancer At Bay

Both published research and general observations have shown numerous health benefits of drinking tea in general, and green tea in particular.  Many of these are covered in a previous article “the health benefits of drinking tea“.  Of interest today is the anti-cancer properties of green tea, with particular regard to the liver.

Studies such as this one showing how “green tea kills breast cancer cells” concluded that ” the cytotoxic effect of GTPs [green tea polyphenols] against five human cancer cell lines and the mechanisms of apoptosis in MCF-7 cells induced by GTPs were studied. In summary, the results showed that GTPs
had broad-spectrum anti-tumor activities, especially for MCF-7 cells [a line of breast cancer cells].”  And this one that illustrated how “green tea kills lung cancer cells” – which concluded that “all results demonstrate that EGCG [green tea catechin] … stimulates apoptotic induction.”

And there are more, not an infinite amount however as things that cannot be patented or heavily profited from with particular regards to cancer do not tend to get studied heavily.  Regardless it is clear that there is benefit.

A less covered aspect in the studies surrounding green tea and cancer was information about the effects on liver cancer in particular and that is what the meta-analysis I’m writing about today explored.  Here researchers from the pharmacy departments at the Tongji School of Medicine in Shanghai and the Second Military Medical University, among other institutions, set out to answer questions about effectiveness and dosage.

They found significant reductions in the development of liver cancer in people who drank more than 4 cups of green tea daily, with some of the strongest benefits in those who did so for 20 years or more.  They concluded that a “significant dose-response association was found between green tea drinking and liver cancer risk” and “increasing green tea intake may have a preventive effect against liver cancer.”

Now interestingly Japan, a large green tea drinking country, has one of the highest rates of liver cancer in the industrialized world ( 1 ).  Much of this is due to the incredible amounts of intravenous drug abuse following the second world war – thus leading to large number of hepatitis C infections which is a risk factor for liver cancer.  According to this article in the japan times, “the Chemist Nagayoshi Nagai first synthesized methamphetamine from ephedrine in 1893, and this was used as a pick-me-up during World War II for military personnel”.  After the war however many of military stock ended up being used by the public to the point where in 1954 “police reports estimated there 550,000 addicts in the country, with around 2 million people having tried the drug at some point in their life.”

The country as a whole, however, has some of the lowest cancer rates – the US is 9th and Japan is 49th in this list,  and they consume some of the highest amounts of green tea worldwide.  That statistical observation would seem to back the benefits of green tea on cancer.  Perhaps they are also subconsciously healing their livers from the coping mechanisms that were used following one of the greatest tragedies in our modern times.  But that’s a story for a different article altogether.

For now, it seems fairly clear that if you enjoy green tea you shouldn’t hesitate to keep drinking it.

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  1. Too Much Tea? Man’s Kidney Failure Linked To Massive Tea …

    Apr 2, 2015 - Man’s Kidney Failure Linked To Massive Tea Consumption … "If that’s not resolved it will cause scarring and loss of the kidney tissue. So that’s …

    Increase Your Green Tea Consumption - May Keep Liver…

    now which is true ???

  2. If you read the research pointed to in my article I would think that large scale meta analysis over one obscure case who developed kidney stones (probably from drinking too much - most likely black tea, and iced at that) - you would be able to still see a very clear answer.

    What you have pointed to is one random case of a person drinking copious amounts of iced tea on the order of 16 classes a day. But even with that there are hundreds of other dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors that would make someone prone to kidney stones. And it was the development of kidney stones - not the “tea” itself - which scarred his kidneys.

    Along those lines it is the oxalate content that is the biggest contributor to kidney stones. Black tea has between ~3 and 15mg per cup, whereas green tea has .~.25 - 1.15mg per cup - so far less a risk factor.

    But, yes, if you drink lots of black tea, along with other high oxalate content foods like spinach, rhubarb, almonds, etc. then you will likely have problems. But certain people are far more prone to oxalates contributing to stones than others - so even that isn’t a given.

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