If you keep close tabs on tea-related news (guilty), you’ll notice that it’s a rare day when there’s not some report trumpeting another of tea‘s alleged health benefits. On the flip side, you’ll find that it’s quite rare to see a report that presents a potential downside for drinking tea. But in recent weeks we’ve actually seen conflicting reports that tea can be beneficial and harmful for the exact same condition – prostate cancer.

Izu Matcha (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Izu Matcha (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

So how does this work? Beats me. If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is. As I noted in a previous article in these pages, prostate cancer is a problem of no small significance, affecting an estimated one in six men in the United States alone, or a total of about two million men in all.

So it would come as unwelcome news that, as a number of recent headlines put it, men who drink tea might be at a greater risk for prostate cancer. But this is not quite as cut and dried as it sounds. The study by researchers at Glasgow University examined more than six thousand men over a period of 37 years and found that those who drank at least seven cups of tea daily had a fifty percent higher risk for prostate cancer than those who drank little or no tea.

However, researchers admit that they could not pinpoint whether tea was an actual risk factor or if those affected had simply lived long enough to be at a greater risk for the disease. For yours truly, a male who probably drinks at least seven cups of tea most days, this is not really a sufficient incentive to quit tea or even to cut back. Check out one of a number of articles that reported on this study.

On the plus side, such as it is, is another recent study that found that yes, tea might be able to help treat prostate cancer. To be a little more precise, the research team from the University of Missouri found that gold particles and a compound found in green tea might help to actually wipe out prostate cancer cells. The beneficial component in tea that’s been cited in this case is epigallocatechin-gallate, or EGCG, which is not surprising. EGCG has been cited in many other studies on tea and health and is most plentiful in lightly processed teas such as green.

To read one of the many articles on this particular study, look here.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

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