Study Suggests Matcha Fights Cancer
by Peter Keen
Every month brings striking news about green tea’s biogenetic health impacts and therapy opportunities, with EGCG and matcha tea being the main focus.
September 2018 saw a flurry of headlines, mainly variants and repostings of “Matcha Green Tea Inhibits Growth of Cancer Cells” and “Could Matcha Green Tea be Used to Treat Cancer?”
They almost all report on a study conducted at the University of Salford in the UK that is striking, rigorous, reliable and builds on a growing body of molecular biology research over the last 30 years. The study was published in the journal Aging.
It adds to the increasing scientific evidence that the biochemical compound EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is a powerful agent that works as a scavenger targeting health-threatening “free radical” cells. These are the product of environmental carcinogens such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke and too many fried and/or processed foods. Their overload in the body is a major cause of DNA damage, aging and cancer.
Tested High Grade Matcha Powder
Most studies of EGCG use tea extract — not the leaf. The Salford research is distinctive in that it tested high grade matcha powder. One of its conclusions is that relatively low amounts of nutrient-rich matcha are sufficient to trigger the anti-cancer catechins.
The Salford findings are simple to summarize: matcha tea suppresses mitochondrial metabolism in breast cancer stem cells thus preventing them from “refueling,” so they die.
The Salford study points to the strong potential of matcha’s high EGCG content in helping solve one of the most challenging problems in cancer treatment. That problem is reflected in the physician’s emphasis to his or her patients that their cancer is not cured but “in remission” and that there is always the chance it will reoccur. It may be 4-6 years before they can be declared cancer-free.
Stem cells, the growth engine of the body’s chemistry, are at the core of the problem. The test showed how matcha turns off their ability to re-energize, in effect starving them to death. EGCG is the active agent and matcha is the delivery vehicle. The result is the apoptosis (normal) programmed death of the cancer cell.
EGCG is found in fruits, vegetables and nuts in low amounts but is abundant in green teas and super-concentrated in higher quality matcha. It is a catechin, a type of water-soluble anti-oxidant that metabolizes quickly.
It’s one of more than 600 tea leaf compounds that evolved over time to help the tea leaf grow, build nutrients and protect itself. The dynamics transfer well to the human body as both plant and human chemistries are oxygen-based. Catechins are street fighters and EGCG is the most powerful. It locks onto reactive cells that cause “oxidative stress,” especially the ones that damage your DNA.
Teas vary widely in the amount of EGCG they contain. In a 100 gram sample, green teas average 7 grams of EGCG; oolong teas average 3.5 grams, while black teas average just 1 gram. Japanese green teas generally contain the highest amounts of ECGC.
EGCG-based therapies are becoming a mainstream of modern medicine especially in the development of breast cancer and other oncology related treatments. And, yes, green teas like matcha will continue to be a major player in consumer foods and products — and now hospitals too.
Read the longer unedited version of this post here courtesy World Tea News.