Why you should (not) drink GREEN TEA

It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it. Epictetus

My friend’s grandmother used to make them drink green tea. He asked me why we doctors don’t prescribe green tea to all patients. 

Medicine these days is evidence based I said. You can’t just give green tea to everyone.

I will tell you why you should (not) drink green tea. Appropriate use of anything you put in your mouth is key to success in your health. 

Components 

Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea plants are from East Asia, and probably originated in the borderlands of north Burma and southwestern China.

The useful parts of green tea are the leaf bud, leaf, and stem. 

Green tea has substances called Polyphenols. These seem to be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.

See 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols here.

Green tea also contains 2% to 4% Caffeine. Remember Caffeine is thought to stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles. This amongst other reasons is why some peole think it is beneficial to Parkinson’s disease.

Lastly Antioxidants and other substances in green tea might help protect the heart and blood vessels.

Green tea contains polyphenols, caffeine and antioxidants.

Effectiveness 

I will divide this into 3 parts. See the table below:

EFFECTIVEMAYBEINSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

Genital warts. 
Applying the ointment for 10-16 weeks seems to be effective in 24% to 60% of patients.

Heart disease. Drinking green tea may reduce risk of clogged arteries. The link seems to be stronger in men than women.

Cancer of the womb (endometrial cancer). 

Cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Consuming green tea or taking green tea extract daily for up to 24 weeks may reduce bad cholesterol.

High blood pressure. Drinking green tea might reduce its risk. 

Ovarian cancer. Women who regularly drink tea may have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. 

Parkinson disease. Drinking one to four cups daily seems to provide the most protection against developing Parkinson disease.

Cancer in general. Acne. Heart disease. Common cold. Depression. 

Diabetes. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).

Low blood pressure. Flu (influenza). Mental alertness. Heart attack. Obesity. Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). 

Death from any cause.  Pneumonia. Pain after surgery. Stress. Stroke. Upper airway infection. 

Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs). 

Skin wrinkles from sun damage. Inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility), etc. 

Side Effects

This is good evidence that drinking green tea is likely safe for most healthy adults when consumed in moderate amounts (about 8 cups per day). More than this can cause undesirable effects due to the caffeine it has. 

WARNING

Do not take green tea with Amphetamines, Cocaine or Ephedrine. Always consult your doctor. 

When a specific, FDA-approved ointment is applied to the skin. It should be short-term.

It is possibly safe for most people when taken by mouth (green tea extract) for up to 2 years or when used as a mouthwash, short-term. 

In children when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods and beverages is also possibly safe. Or when used for gargling three times daily for up to 90 days.

In pregnant or breast-feeding women if it is less than 7 cups per day seems to be okay. It is important to note that caffeine passes into breast milk and can affect a nursing infant. In this case it should be around 2-3 cups per day.

In order to reduce the risk for liver injury, take green tea extract with food.

Bad effects

Drinking green tea can worsen these conditions:

Anemia

Anxiety disorders

Bleeding disorders

Heart conditions

Diabetes

Diarrhoea

Glaucoma

High blood pressure

Irritable bowel syndrome 

Liver disease

Weak bones (osteoporosis)

Call to action

Now you know more of green tea than most people you meet outside. Go ahead and use it wisely. 

 

Eager to read more?

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964900/

2. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/greentea

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254

4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-960/green-tea

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802

 

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