Tea health benefits… umm yeah ok

September 27, 2006 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Green Tea, Tea and Health | 1 Comment

mm….the health benefits of >insert plant name here< (not broccoli… please)
name a plant and it can cure everything from diarrhea to dogbites drug addiction doofyness and cancer. Why people seek and believe unproven ridiculousities is part of human behavior. Misinformation, lack of information, distrust of information, ignoramus, hope of cheapness, illusions of naturality and organicness, opportunists & quacks looking to make business attract and perpetuate such ideas ad infinitum.

I don’t deny the benefit & wonder of nature (& plants); After all, it has been the source of many drugs & cures – but these have been studied & tested for many years before conclusions were made.

But, when substance/root/plant/flower claims to cure multiple diseases including HIV/AIDS and cancer … that should be a bit suspicious.


Tea, like most plants, grows according to its environment and nutrients. It has not been designed or genetically altered to produce an exact amount of substances in its leaf.

you have random amount of substance in tea leaf –> no standard way of extracting exact amount of substance from leaf (at home, brewing your tea) –> + LOW absorption from intestine & LOW bioavailability[1]  –> unknown/unreliable/unproven amount of active substance that would reach/interfere/destroy cancer cells/affect a disease mechanism towards better  –>  = unreliable end-result + no proven decrease in disease or mortality attributable to tea alone.

ah, numbers… what do they mean anyway…  < 2008/08 added some stats >
AICR 2005 phone survey(mirror) (~ 1000 Americans), JACC 2005 food questionaire study(mirror) (~100,000 Japanese)

Total green tea drank:

  • USA:
    • 8% drank green tea everyday.
    • 0.3 cups/day (60mL tea/day, American cup = 180mL)
  • JAPAN:
    • 65% drank green tea everyday. (1.5% drank black tea everyday, 6.5% oolong tea)
    • 3-4 cups/day (480mL tea/day, Japanese cup = 120mL)


Life expectancy:

  • USA life expectancy: 77.9 years (2004)
  • JAPAN life expectancy: 81.1 years
  • CHINA life expectancy: 71.8 years (link)
  • INDIA life expectancy: 64
  • SRI LANKA life expectancy: 72


Death from Malignant Neoplasms rate of deaths (#/100000) (WHO year 2000)
(can just mean a relation to less/more treatment, so not really relevant)

U.S.A: 207/100000 (in Males) 186/100000 (in Females)
Japan: 291/100000 (in Males), 181/100000 (in Females)


Incidence of Cancer (incidence = new cases for a year)

Gastric Cancer Incidence
(numbers are rounded by me, age-standardized by them, source: NEJM 359;5 july 31, 2008.)
U.S.A = 6/100000
China = 30/100000 (my calculation, 2005 population 1.3bill, 0.4mill new cases)
Japan = 60/100000 (Japan’s rate has been 10 times more than USA for at least 30 years)
(higher gastric cancer in JP is attributed to H.pylori infection, high consumption of salted and preserved foods, lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, and probably genetics since the article says if the risk factors are controlled they can’t explain such a high rate as Japan has.)
A study in Japan from 1984 to 1992 followed ~26000 people. They found no relation between drinking tea and less/more gastric cancer,
source: NEJM 344:632-636 march 1, 2001.

Gastric Cancer Death is ~10 times greater in Japan compared to the USA.

All cancers incidence rate:
USA: ~460/100000 (2005, all ages, both sexes, adjusted rate)
Japan: ??? cant find corresponding
China: ??? cant find corresponding


How does one accept that green tea has any beneficial effect in preventing cancer ?(for example in Japan & China where they have such a high consumption of good green tea, and yet… gastric cancer – especially that the liquid passes thru the organ in question.)


I don’t see how you would fiercely advocate the “benefits” of green tea… when presently there is no proof that TEA directly affects anything long term for the benefit of disease/cancer prevention or treatment.

Think about all the junk food in this country(USA), cheap ‘toxic’, ‘hormone infested’ ‘pesticide laden’ un-organic trash that we eat (right? that’s what the organic all-natural dont-eat-the-chicken people say)… and that’s what you lose? 3 years ? or… it looks like you gain 6 years by not drinking green tea if by comparison to People’s Republic of China.

Since the country of Andorra has the highest life expectancy, they must eat super clean, natural, extra-organic, drink 10L antioxidants & tea a day, stuff themselves full of vitamins(oh wait they get them from all the natural foods), exercise 365 days/yr, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, don’t drive, don’t smoke crack…. right? i don’t think so.


Do i drink tea for its health benefits ? No.
i drink tea to enjoy the many flavors a green leaf can offer.


[these are my thoughts arranged rather haphazardly, i don’t aim to make some sort of publication/paper/tough stance, i dont claim any importance to this, i just wanted to put them down somewhere. If anything interesting appears in the future, this would be updated.]

2008/08/23 changed “random/unknown absorbtion” to LOW, reference:
[1] Absorption and metabolism of flavonoids (Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Volume 36, Issue 7, 1 April 2004, Pages 829-837)


1 Comment »

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  1. I drink tea for its flavor and certain stimulant effects. But, drink a lot. At least a liter a day. I would welcome follow-up comments on the merits or demerits of my habit.
    If demerits overwhelm merits, then, I will stop this habit.

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