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People have been drinking tea for thousands of years, but in the last couple of decades a number of potential health benefits have been attributed to this ancient beverage. Black tea and green tea are made from the same plant, but a higher level of the original substances endure in the less-processed green form.
Studies weakly suggest that 3 cups of green tea daily might provide protection against cancer. However, because not everyone wants to take the time to drink green tea, manufacturers have offered extracts that can be taken in pill form. A typical dosage is 100 mg to 150 mg 3 times daily of a green tea extract standardized to contain 80% total polyphenols and 50% epigallocatechin gallate. Whether these extracts offer any benefit remains unknown. Furthermore, there are growing concerns about liver toxicity with use of green tea extracts. (See Safety Issues.)
Warning: In an analysis performed in 2006 by the respected testing organization ConsumerLabs.com, some tested green tea products were found to be contaminated with lead. 1
- Product review of supplements for cancer prevention (green tea, lycopene, and selenium). Consumer Lab website. Available at: http://www.consumerlabs.com/results/cancer_supplements_green_tea_lycopene_selenium.asp. Accessed May 5, 2006.