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2017 Study: Green Tea Reduces Mortality

Green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks on the planet.

Besides its ability to improve circulation, it can help stabilize blood sugar and combat underlying causes of cancer.

But it’s not just that green tea is healthy—it can reduce your risk of dying!

A decade of meticulous research evaluated hundreds of thousands of people in relationship to their dietary habits. The results showed that the higher the consumption of green tea and its polyphenol constituents, the lower the overall risk of dying from any cause. This longevity benefit is especially pronounced in older populations.

Green tea combats many underlying processes that contribute to premature aging and disease.

Here, we’ll evaluate compelling studies showing that green tea reduces all-cause mortality. Then we’ll look at how green tea or its components help reduce the impact of specific health problems that contribute to premature death.

For many years, green tea and its compounds have demonstrated compelling benefits in basic science and animal studies. But until about a decade ago, there were conflicting results about those health benefits in people.

Now, a handful of epidemiological cohort studies has made the human health benefits much clearer.

In these types of studies, researchers follow a large group of people over a long period of time, recording both the health outcome of interest (death from all causes) and ingestion of substances (green tea consumption) that might influence the outcomes. Once the data have been collected, they are analyzed in search of statistically significant associations between ingested substance and the outcome.

By early 2017, several large cohort studies and meta-analyses of smaller cohort studies had been completed examining the association between green tea consumption and death from all causes. While the results varied somewhat by design and by the populations being studied, they all had one thing in common: They found significant reductions in all-cause mortality among habitual green tea users, compared with nonusers or low-level consumers.

The largest individual studies involved populations of 40,000 to more than 160,000 subjects, and they all showed significant all-cause mortality risk reductions of 11%-18% in those drinking the largest daily amounts of green tea (five or more cups), compared to non-green tea drinkers. Those studies also found that the more tea a person drinks, the greater the risk reduction.

A smaller but still sizable study of 14,001 older adults found a still more impressive overall risk reduction of 58% in the highest-consumption group—a figure that rose to 68% in women only.

Finally, a meta-analysis pooling the results of 18 individual cohort studies found a 20% reduction in all-cause mortality risk among the highest vs. the lowest category of green tea consumption.11 That study also broke down the data to show that for each one-cup increment of green tea consumed daily, the risk of all-cause mortality fell by 4%, a figure that supports the overall reductions in the preceding studies.

Together, these studies vividly illustrate the powerful ability of green tea consumption to mitigate the risk of dying from any cause.

Green Tea Fights Age-Related Diseases

How is green tea consumption capable of producing such drops in the risk of death across the board? The reason is because green tea possesses multi-targeted properties that combat five fundamental processesthat underlie degenerative disease: oxidative stress, sugar-induced damage (glycation), inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and disruptions to the intestinal microbiome.

As a result, green tea consumption has been found to have a beneficial impact on the chronic conditions responsible for killing the majority of older adults, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes/obesity, and cancer, as well as some less-obvious factors like dental problems. Let’s look at each individually.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading killer of older Americans and is therefore a major contributor to all-cause mortality. Green tea consumption is widely recognized as a means of lowering cardiovascular disease risk.

Each of the studies mentioned earlier that showed significant reductions in all-cause mortality risk also showed significant decreases in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Specifically, those who consumed the largest amounts of green tea reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 14% to as much as 76% (and up to 82% for women).

These benefits are largely driven by green tea’s high content of catechins (a type of polyphenol), the most abundant of which is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Higher levels of green tea catechins are associated with lower levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.22EGCG has potent protective effects against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This is important because oxidized LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for, and early contributor to, atherosclerosis and plaque formation that blocks arterial blood flow.

In vitro studies demonstrate that green tea’s effects can protect against oxidized LDL-induced endothelial dysfunction (an early finding in atherosclerosis) by modulating the production of two forms of nitric oxide that regulate signaling changes in blood pressure and flow.

Diabesity

Diabesity (the combination of type II diabetes and obesity) is another major contributor to premature death because it sets up older adults for metabolic, cardiac, neurologic, and malignant catastrophes by feeding inflammatory changes throughout the body.

Green tea—and especially the EGCG contained in green tea extracts—powerfully fights many of the causes and consequences of diabesity.

A human study revealed that taking 90 mg/day of EGCG increases the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, which results in increased energy expenditure. These actions not only combat the accumulation of fat, but also help prevent inflammation caused by fat cells. An animal study showed that EGCG can reduce body weight and shrink fat mass, in large part by stimulating the burning of fat for energy.

Other favorable effects of green tea extracts and EGCG include reductions in fat uptake and liver fat storage, reductions in markers of fat-induced chemical stress, reductions in fat-induced insulin production, and reductions in inflammation produced by fat cells.26 As an added benefit, green tea extract prevents fat absorption by inhibiting the pancreatic enzymes required for its digestion in the intestine.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A recent barrage of studies has confirmed that people who consume green tea are significantly less likely to die from all causes put together.

The risk of dying may be reduced by as little as 5% and as much as 76%, depending on study design and population, but the results are consistent across multiple studies.

Green tea and its extracts exert this remarkable anti-mortality effect by reducing the risk of developing fatal chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, obesity and diabetes, and cancer, as well as other conditions that predispose us to an early death, like tooth and gum disease.

Research demonstrates that the green tea components, EGCG and others, exert these widespread effects because of very specific and focused impact on a small handful of biochemical and cellular processes.

Green tea extracts should be considered an essential part of an overall strategy to extend life and evade disease.

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s contribute to early death, and they represent a sizable slice of the overall mortality rate.

Green tea extracts and EGCG fight the causes and progression of neurodegenerative diseases in multiple ways. For example, EGCG may prevent Alzheimer’s disease by reducing production of the toxic protein called beta-amyloid, as well as the resulting inflammation, which otherwise destroys brain cells.

Not only does this increase the survival of brain cells, it also stimulates new brain cell production, especially in the memory-storage hippocampal area of the brain. These actions have resulted in improved behaviors in an animal model of Alzheimer’s.

Cancer

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the US, which makes reducing cancer risk an important way to reduce all-cause mortality.

Green tea polyphenols have been found to suppress cancer development and its aggressiveness in in vitro studies of many different cancers, including prostate, melanoma, breast, liver, lung, brain, and bladder malignancies.

Epidemiological studies show that people who drink five or more cups of green tea per day have a 38% lower risk of developing liver cancer, compared with nondrinkers.38 In a group of men with prostate cancer, supplementation with green tea extract reduced markers of oxidative stress and increased natural protective mechanisms.

Studies of breast cancer in relation to green tea consumption are particularly compelling, and deserve specific mention.

Green tea appears to have multiple effects on breast cancers, both before and after malignancies are discovered.

Studies show, for instance, that among women diagnosed with breast cancer, those with higher green tea consumption are less likely to have tumors spread to regional lymph nodes, or to metastasize, compared with women who consume little or none of the beverage.

And green tea consumption correlates significantly with diminished recurrence rates of early breast cancers: consumption of three or more cups/day reduces recurrence risk by 31%, and among those with the very earliest (stage I) tumors, significant risk reduction of 57% has been observed.

Even in studies not restricted to early-stage cancers, green tea consumption has shown a dose-related impact.

One large study showed that, compared with non-tea drinkers, those consuming, yearly, 250 or more grams of green tea leaves had risk reductions of 32% to 41% for breast cancer occurrence, figures generally supported in a large meta-analysis study as well.

Lab studies shed additional light on green tea’s role in breast cancer prevention.

In culture experiments, EGCG was shown to inhibit rare but deadly inflammatory stem-like breast cancer cells, which contribute to extremely poor prognoses when found.

And in living animals, green tea supplementation inhibited metastatic spread, and reduced the ability of metastases to grow in bones of mice with transplanted human breast tumor tissue.

Finally, EGCG and green tea extracts are showing signs of effectiveness in the most challenging of breast cancer types, those lacking receptors for estrogen, in which relatively safe and simple treatment with estrogen-fighting drugs is not effective.

Green tea extracts and EGCG act by a wide range of mechanisms to achieve these effects, including:

  • Inhibiting the out-of-control cell replication cycle typical of cancers
  • Inducing early cell death (apoptosis) in malignant cells
  • Suppressing the formation of new blood vessels to nourish rapidly-growing tumor masses, resulting in their destruction
  • Reducing production of the “protein-melting” enzymes tumors use to invade between cells and spread their malignant tissue
  • Inhibiting a host of proinflammatory signaling systems, including nuclear factor kappa B, and cyclooxygenase (COX)

Oral Health

Oral health, tooth decay, and gum disease are rarely thought of as being associated with premature death, but that’s a dangerous misconception. The alarming truth is that people with gum disease can be anywhere from 34%-72% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and other complications, compared to those in good oral health.

Tooth loss has also been found to increase the risk of dying by up to 36% in older adults, while preventing tooth decay and loss can reduce that risk by 46%.

Green tea extracts have been found to help slow or prevent tooth decay and loss. Research shows that green tea extract can reduce wear and roughness caused by chemical erosion on tooth material.

SUMMARY

Studies published over the past decade are substantiating that green tea and its compounds can reduce our risk of dying from all causes.

Significant green tea-associated reductions in all-cause mortality have been reported in a long series of studies in multiple populations, with effects as modest as a 5% reduction, up to a 76% reduction in the risk of dying.

These human longevity benefits correlate with the ability of green tea to protect cells throughout our aging bodies against degenerative alterations.

In response to higher intake of green tea and its extracts, studies reveal a reduced risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and vascular, neurodegenerative disorders.

Polyphenol extracts from green tea represent a low-cost addition to an overall strategy to prevent disease and extend life.

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Forbes: Green Compound May Protect Body and Brain

Green tea is one of the most consumed beverages across the globe. And the many people for whom it’s a staple may be the healthier for it, both physically and mentally. Green tea has some well-known antioxidants, namely EGCG, a catechin that’s also found in berries and apples. A new study looks at how EGCG may counter some of the deleterious effects of a fatty, high-sugar diet (i.e., a typical Western diet).

The researchers split young adult mice into three groups. One group, serving as controls, ate a standard lab chow diet and drank plain water. Another group ate a high-fat diet (with 45% of their calories coming from fat), and drank water spiked with fructose. A third group ate the same high-fat, high-sugar diet as above, but their water was additionally laced with EGCG.

At the end of 16 weeks on their respective regimens, the researchers measured mice’s body weight, insulin function, genetic expression and cognitive function.

It turned out that, as expected, the mice eating the high-fat/high-sugar diet were heavier than those eating a regular diet. But they were also significantly heavier than those who’d eaten a high-fat/high-sugar diet that was supplemented with EGCG—in other words, the addition of EGCG seemed to counter the effects of the bad diet. The ECGC-consuming mice also performed better in several ways on the Morris water maze, a classic test of cognitive and memory function in rodents.

What’s interesting about the study was that the team also illuminated some of the mechanisms behind the connection. For instance, they found that insulin function in the central nervous system was better in the EGCG-exposed mice. The compound also seemed to have a neuroprotective effect on the brain, specifically protecting new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs learning and memory. Finally, EGCG affected the expression of genes involved in appetite regulation, which are known to be dysregulated when an animal or person consumes a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

And the results are likely relevant to us as well, especially given the existing research on green tea consumption and human health. For example, some studies have suggested that regular green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cancer, including breast cancer. Other work has shown that serious green tea drinkers (five cups/day) had a 28% reduced risk of heart disease (interestingly, the same connection didn’t exist for black tea).

It also fits into what we know about the effects of various diets on health: For example, there’s good evidence that, in addition to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, a typically Western diet is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. On the flip side, plant-based diets like the Mediterranean diet are linked to better body weight, better cognition and reduced dementia risk—it’s likely that one of the reasons for this is the higher antioxidant content of the plant-based diet.

One caveat is that many of the existing green tea studies have been done in Asian populations, who may be eating a very different diet from people in the U.S. So there could be other variables at play, and more complex interactions at work. Therefore, the study definitely isn’t license to eat junk food in the hopes that chasing it with green tea will offset the damage. It’s more an exploration of how powerful the effects of dietary antioxidants can be.

That said, if you currently drink green tea, keep it up. And if you don’t, feel free to give it a try. Just don’t forget to do the rest of the things we know to be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle as well.

“Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries,” said study author Xuebo Liu in a news release. “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combating obesity, insulin resistance and memory impairment.”

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Spotlight: The Beneficial Effects of Green Tea

Abstract

The health benefits of green tea for a wide variety of ailments, including different types of cancer, heart disease, and liver disease, were reported. Many of these beneficial effects of green tea are related to its catechin, particularly (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, content.

There is evidence from in vitro and animal studies on the underlying mechanisms of green tea catechins and their biological actions. There are also human studies on using green tea catechins to treat metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Long-term consumption of tea catechins could be beneficial against high-fat diet-induced obesity and type II diabetes and could reduce the risk of coronary disease. Further research that conforms to international standards should be performed to monitor the pharmacological and clinical effects of green tea and to elucidate its mechanisms of action.

Background

In recent years, the health benefits [1] of consuming green tea, including the prevention of cancer [2] and cardiovascular diseases [3], the anti-inflammatory [4], antiarthritic [5], antibacterial [6], antiangiogenic [7], antioxidative [8], antiviral [9], neuroprotective [10], and cholesterol-lowering effects [11] of green tea and isolated green tea constituents are under investigation. However, adding green tea to the diet may cause other serious health concerns.

The health-promoting effects of green tea are mainly attributed to its polyphenol content [12], particularly flavanols and flavonols, which represent 30% of fresh leaf dry weight [1]. Recently, many of the aforementioned beneficial effects of green tea were attributed to its most abundant catechin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) [1315]. Green tea extracts are more stable than pure epigallocatechin gallate, one of the major constituents of green tea, because of the presence of other antioxidant constituents in the extract [8]. In general, herbal medicines are complex mixtures of different compounds that often act in a synergistic fashion to exert their full beneficial effect [11]. However, relatively few herbal medicines have been well characterized and their efficacy demonstrated in systematic clinical trials as compared to Western drugs. This review article highlights the recent research on the efficacy, action mechanisms, and side effects of green tea and its catechins in in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo systems [16].

The review on green tea and its catechins focused on language literature in English. The literature search was conducted in the following databases: Pubmed (1980-2009), EMBASE (1980-2009), Allied and complementary Medicine Database (AMED, 1985-2009) and China Journals Full Text Database (1975-2009). The keywords used were selected from the following terms: green tea, catechins, anticancer, diabetes, polyphenols, in vivo studies, general pharmacology and toxicology. The health benefits and adverse effects of green tea and its catechins were reviewed.

The authors read full articles and reached consensus after discussion. Articles included in the study covered the following effects of green tea: (1) the health benefits in humans and animals, (2) absorption of metal ions and drug-metabolizing enzymes, (3) antioxidation and inhibition of oxidative stress, (4) carbohydrate metabolism and diabetes mellitus, and (5) adverse effects. A total of 105 peer-reviewed papers in English were selected for this review.

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Study: Breast cancer chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects of green tea

Introduction

Camellia sinensis belongs to the plant family of Theaceae, native to East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but naturalized in many parts of the world. The aim of this study was to overview its anti-breast cancer chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects. This review article is aimed to overview breast cancer chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects of Camellia sinensis (green tea).

Methods

This review article was carried out by searching studies in PubMed, Medline, Web of Science, and IranMedex databases. The initial search strategy identified around 108 references. In this study, 68 studies were accepted for further screening, and met all our inclusion criteria [in English, full text, chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects of Camellia sinensis and dated mainly from the year 1999 to 2016. The search terms were Camellia sinensis, chemopreventive, chemotherapeutic properties, pharmacological effects.

Result

The result of this study suggested that the catechin available in Camellia sinensis has properties which can prevent and treat breast cancer. It has also been shown to inhibit proliferation of breast cancer cells and to block carcinogenesis. It was found that increased Camellia sinensis consumption may lower the risk of breast cancer. Camellia sinensis intake was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer incidence. In addition, potential breast cancer chemopreventive effect of Camellia sinensis both in vivo and in vitro was highly confirmed.

Conclusion

Camellia sinensis is broadly utilized as a part of customary medication since antiquated time because of its cost adequacy, and fewer reaction properties. The studies demonstrated anti-breast cancer activity of Camellia sinensis and its component by adjusting cell signaling pathways such as angiogenesis, apoptosis, and transcription factor. Furthermore, Camellia sinensis and its chemical compound was shown to be extremely useful in the development of novel anticancer medications.

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Doctor’s Orders: Drink Three Cups of Lean + Green Tea Today!

There may be no liquid more beneficial to your health than green tea. It is loaded with antioxidants, such as flavonoids and catechins which scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer and atherosclerosis. Antioxidants prevent cancer associated cells from attacking healthy cells and can decrease the risk of the disease. It can also helps lower cholesterol, increase concentration and memory.

Green tea increases fat burning and boosts metabolism. Previous studies have shown that drinking four cups of green tea a day have helped people lose more than six pounds over the course of two months. Other health benefits of green tea include improved brain function, increased energy, decreased risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, lowered risk for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and improved dental health, as it kills bacteria. This list goes on. Green tea may lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, may reduce the chances for heart disease and lowers your risk for obesity.

One specific catechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is unique to green tea and is abundant as a result of the minimal processing through which green tea goes.  Lab studies have shown that EGCG and a few other catechins can be more powerful than vitamins C and E in stopping oxidative damage to cells in addition to potentially having the ability to fight other diseases.  Furthermore, it is thought that EGCG plays an important role in inhibiting DNA synthesis and cell replication, both imperative for the survival of cancer cells.

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Why Drinking Lean + Green Tea May Help Prevent and Manage Type 2 Diabetes

The fountain of youth still remains elusive, but there’s something that seems close: green tea. People have been drinking tea for centuries, and today it’s the second most popular drink in the world (after water). Some of that popularity may stem from the many widely recognized benefits of tea, including its reported power to prevent cancer and to sharpen mental health. But tea may offer health benefits related to diabetes, too.

“We know people with diabetes have problems metabolizing sugar,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a cardiologist, director of women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Insulin comes along to decrease sugar, but with type 2 diabetes, the body isn’t so sensitive to insulin, so blood sugar levels go up. Through a complex biochemical reaction, tea — especially green tea — helps sensitize cells so they are better able to metabolize sugar. Green tea is good for people with diabetes because it helps the metabolic system function

A 2013 research review published in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal outlined the potential benefits of tea when it comes to diabetes as well as obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. It highlighted a Japanese study that found that people who drank 6 or more cups of green tea a day were 33 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than were people who drank less than a cup of green tea a week. It also reported on Taiwanese research that found that people who drank green tea regularly for more than a decade had smaller waists and a lower body fat composition than those who weren’t regular consumers of green tea.

Drinking tea for diabetes is such a good idea because tea contains substances called polyphenols, which are antioxidants found in every plant. “Polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress and cause vasodilation (widening of the arteries), which decreases blood pressure, prevents clotting, and reduces cholesterol,” Dr. Steinbaum says. All of these activities reduce the risk for heart disease, which is elevated in people with diabetes. Polyphenols in green tea can also help regulate glucose in the body, helping to prevent or control diabetes.

Drinking Tea for Diabetes: Green Tea or Black Tea?

When it comes to drinking tea for diabetes, Steinbaum says benefits are tied to all teas, but that green tea is the clear winner. “For one, when you drink green tea for diabetes, you will get a higher level of polyphenols than you would get in black,” she explains. It’s the polyphenols in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors. So, having more color means that green tea is richer in polyphenols. “Of the black teas, the more orange the color, the higher the polyphenols,” she adds.

“Green tea is good for people with diabetes because it helps the metabolic system function better.” ~Suzanne Steinbaum, DO

Besides its color, green tea also contains higher polyphenol levels because it’s prepared from unfermented leaves, “so it is really pure,” Steinbaum says. Black tea, on the other hand, is made from leaves that are fully fermented, which robs it of some nutrients. “Plus, some black tea varieties can have two to three times more caffeine than green, which isn’t good in excess,” she says.

Polyphenols: Beyond Drinking Tea for Diabetes
The benefits of tea are clear. But besides tea, a number of foods high in polyphenols also can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. “The fruits highest in polyphenols are berries, grapes, apples, and pomegranates — because of their rich color,” Steinbaum says. Broccoli, onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, and spinach are also good sources, as are cranberries, blood oranges, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, lemons, limes, and kiwis. “We know red wine contains resveratrol, which is a polyphenol — the highest concentration is in Bordeaux,” Steinbaum says.

Overall, in addition to drinking tea for diabetes, eating a diet that’s good for your blood sugar isn’t complicated. “Type 2 diabetes tends to be driven by dietary lifestyle choices,” Steinbaum says. “When we talk about prevention, having a diet filled with polyphenols will help the body better metabolize sugar.” Hands down, eating foods rich in polyphenols — such as garlic and brightly colored fruits and vegetables — and drinking tea for diabetes, especially green tea, are great ideas for anyone trying to manage or prevent diabetes.

“When you say, ‘What is the best diet for diabetes?,’ people are hoping for this amazing plan,” Steinbaum says. “But it really comes down to eating colorful fruits and veggies, nuts, drinking green tea, eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids, and getting a little cocoa and red wine — and you’re done.”

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