Green Tea, Your Health And The FDA

29Jul06

A few interesting developments on the health benefits of tea.

The US Food and Drug Administration has said that there is no credible scientific evidence to support the claim that green tea reduces the risk of cancer.

“Two studies do not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, but one weaker, more limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer.”

Interesting.

They go on to say:

“One weak and limited study does not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but another weak and limited study suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer.”

This is in response to a petition filed by Mr. Sin Hang Lee, from Trumbull, CT claiming that green tea reduces the risk of cancer.

Here’s a letter from Mr. Lee to the FDA (pdf).

And the FDA response to Lee’s petition.
It gets worse. Ito En, a Japanese green tea manufacturer filed a petition claiming that drinking 5 ounces of green tea every day may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Of course, the FDA shot back:

“Based on FDA’s consideration of the scientific evidence and other information submitted with your petition, and other pertinent scientific evidence and information, FDA concludes that there is no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for green tea or green tea extract and a reduction of a number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.”

So what’s going on? Is green tea healthy or not? Well, the jury’s out on that for the moment. But I do hope more research is done. The bottom line for me is, it tastes good and makes me feel good. But if you’re concerned – go talk to your doctor.

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3 Responses to “Green Tea, Your Health And The FDA”

  1. If the reader peruses the official document, namely the FDA letter of enforcement discretion which forms the legal and scientific basis for the decision, the fully disclosed language of the qualified green tea health claim granted by the FDA on June 30, 2005 should have read:

    1. “Two studies which were conducted among Japanese living in the northern rural Miyagi prefecture where no tea plantations are in existence do not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, but one weaker, more limited study which was conducted among green tea drinking Asian women living in Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of breast cancer if the green tea similar to those marketed in northern rural Japan is consumed.”

    2. “One weak and limited study which was conducted among Japanese living in the northernmost island of Hokkaido where no tea trees can survive does not show that drinking green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but another weak and limited study which was conducted among the local residents of Hangzhou, the traditional green tea plantation and production capital of China, suggests that drinking green tea may reduce this risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that green tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer if the green tea similar to those marketed in Hokkaido of Japan is consumed.”

  2. Dr. Lee,

    Thank you very much for the clarification. I greatly admire your work in publicizing the health benefits of green tea and wish you all success.


  1. 1 tea.uncomplicated » More on green tea and cancer

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