A very large meta-analysis of many different clinical studies and over 2 million participants, on the association of tea consumption and risk of cancer, has found no impact of drinking tea on colorectal cancer risk. Green tea active EGCG has been shown to have potential protective effects in experimental studies.
It is hard to understate just how threatening colorectal cancer (CRC) is in societies all around the world. Just because a cancer is common does not mean it is less dangerous because the fact of the matter is that colorectal cancer is the second largest cause of cancer related deaths globally. And as emphasized before in earlier blogs, medical researchers are now focusing an increasing amount of energy on finding nutritional supplements for CRC prevention, because it is now common knowledge that one’s lifestyle and diet play an extremely significant role in increasing or decreasing the risk of getting diagnosed with this specific type of cancer.
But what should one do if different scientific trials are coming up with different conclusions based on their tests? This is especially a problem when it relates to the intake of popular foods such as the case with tea because this would be crucial knowledge for a large number of people around the globe. Regardless of the complexity of a scientific study, the results can only be considered valid when the study can be repeated a countless number of times and still get the same result. When it comes to the association of drinking tea and risk of cancer, studies have shown beneficial preventative effects on certain types of cancers while no relation at all with other cancer types.
Tea Intake and Colorectal Cancer Risk
Researchers from the Hunan Agricultural University in China did an updated meta-analysis looking at both in vitro and animal studies to conclude on how much of an effect tea really has on the risk of colorectal cancer. Tea, of course, comes in various forms, but is a drink that involves hot water and some form of tea leaves or herbs, that is consistently popular throughout the world. In this meta-analysis, the researchers scanned both PubMed and Embase and pooled data from 20 cohort studies which involved a combined total of 2,068,137 participants. After taking the time to analyze all the data and conclude on their findings, these researchers concluded that “tea consumption has no significant impact on the colorectal cancer risk in both genders combined, but gender-specific meta-analysis indicates that tea consumption has a marginal significant inverse impact on colorectal cancer risk in females” (Zhu MZ et al, Eur J Nutr., 2020) Inverse impact means that drinking tea could be protective against developing cancer, although the effect was marginal, hence not conclusive. Even though this analysis involved a large number of people, it is important to keep in mind that with a cancer like this, confounding variables play a big role as well as the differences in the studies themselves.
The bottom line is that drinking tea in general has not shown to have a protective effect with colorectal cancer, nor does it increase the risk of this cancer type. This means that those who enjoy drinking tea can continue to do so and do not need to change their consumption patterns due to any worries related to cancer risk association or hopes of cancer prevention. The potential positive effects of green tea are all related to its main ingredient, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is able to work through its antioxidant effects, growth inhibition, and apoptotic inductions.
Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer.Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.