The benefits of green tea have not been disputed, but there have been recent articles about lead and the effect of green tea extract on the liver, so its time for an update.
“Green tea benefits your health as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic, antihypertensive, brain protector as well as lowers cholesterol.(1)” We also know that it has a long list of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Green tea has been shown to reduce cancerous tumors in skin, colon, liver, and mammary glands.
The above study reports that in Canada, black, green and oolong teas taken from local store shelves contained lead. Green tea from China had lead while green tea from Sri Lanka did not. Organic teas had the same concentrations. So, it’s not the tea itself, but where it’s produced that matters.
According to the National Institute of Health(2), “Drinking green tea has not been associated with liver injury or serum aminotransferase elevations.” But, the tea extract in diet supplements like Exolise(now rescinded) has caused some warnings. The problem is that the extracts have various concentrations levels. Even then, the article concludes that, “Liver injury from green tea is rare.”
What to do? You might hear that green tea is considered unsafe during pregnancy and lactation. Although, confirming studies are needed, it’s probably a good idea for women to refrain from tea “extract” and matcha use during this period.
In the NIH article, “Human clinical studies demonstrate that single doses of up to 1.6 grams of green tea extract are well tolerated.” That is equivalent to about 4 cups in extract from. However, if the extract form is questionable, why use it al all?
1. “The amount of lead is not dangerous if it is brewed. This is because 90% of the lead stays in the tea leaf itself.”(3)
2. It is prudent to avoid green tea “extracts” or supplements until better research is available for both genders.
3. Drinking green tea powder or Matcha can have concentrated levels of all ingredients. “If in doubt(about its content), limit yourself to just one cup of Matcha a day and drink brewed tea for the rest of the day.”(3)
4. Be more aware where your tea is grown and look for testing of the ingredients.
5. GREEN TEA WITHOUT LEAD: Bigelow Green Tea Naturally Decaf(bags), Salada Green Tea Naturally Decaf(bags), and Tevana Gykuro Loose Leaf. Matcha without lead is matchadna.com/organic/(based on studies that DNA can be restored).
So, we can continue to drink brewed green, white, black and oolong teas, but should switch to a higher non-lead quality for matcha drinkers and avoid extracts for now. L. Johnson www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
1. Thyr, S. ND, “Green Tea Update” 6-24-2014. Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?edition=105§ion=157&article=926 2. National Institute of Health. “Green Tea” 4-3-2015. Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://livertox.nih.gov/GreenTea.htm 3. Becki. “What you need to know about green tea and lead” 10-14-2014 Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://www.green-tea-guide.com/green-tea-lead.html