Green Tea for Prostatitis
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea (Camillia sinesis) is a Tier 2 supplement for prostatitis, meaning that it has significant clinical studies and research behind its use. Green tea’s medicinal powers are attributed to catechins, which are potent antioxidants that boast an array of health-promoting properties for prostate health and other aspects of whole-body health. Catechins have been shown to destroy certain bacteria and viruses, enhance the immune system, and combat several forms of cancer, including prostate cancer. Catechins also regulate the production and activities of hormones, fight inflammation, and reduce risk of infection in prostatitis. There are several different kinds of catechins, and the most powerful is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is more potent than vitamins C and E.
Green Tea for Prostatitis—Does It work?
The catechins in green tea have demonstrated an ability to manage both bacterial prostatitis and nonbacaterial chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). In cases of bacterial prostatitis, studies have shown that when green tea is combined with antibiotics the combination works better than the antibiotic alone. Researchers have also noted that green tea helps manage lower urinary tract symptoms associated with enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia—BPH). As some men with prostatitis also may experience urinary symptoms, this benefit may apply to prostatitis patients as well.
Various studies that have looked at the effectiveness of green tea for prostatitis (and prostate cancer) include the following:
- In a rat model of CP/CPPS, the animals were given either placebo, catechins, ciprofloxacin (Cipro), or catechins plus ciprofloxacin. The catechins group alone showed modest improvements in inflammation and bacterial growth compared with the placebo group, but the combination of catechins and ciprofloxacin demonstrated significant improvements when compared with placebo (Lee 2005).
- A study of green tea extract and prostatitis was published in the Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy in 2010. Researchers used rat models of chronic prostatitis and found that nanocatechins (catechins altered using nanotechnology) had more effective anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects on rat chronic prostatitis than “normal” catechins because the body was able to absorb them better (Yoon 2010).
- Green tea also helps prevent prostate cancer. Research shows that men who drink at least 5 cups of green tea per day have a reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to men who drink less than one cup of green tea per day (Kurahashi 2007.)
Uses and Side Effects of Green Tea
Studies have found that a daily intake of 500 to 600 mg of highly concentrated green tea extract to be effective. When you are shopping for green tea supplements (or brewable teas for drinking), make sure you read the product’s label to determine the EGCG levels in the product. If it does not state the EGCG amount, you can figure it out from the amount of green tea extract. The amount of EGCG in a product is about half of the amount of green tea extract. For example, 600 mg of a highly concentrated green tea extract provides 454 mg of catechins, and 311 mg of EGCG. According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for supplements, the product’s label should list the plant’s species name and the part of the plant used in the product.
Green tea can possibly increase blood pressure and heart rate. Keep an eye on the supplement’s or tea’s caffeine level. Caffeine-free products are better for prostatitis patients. Caffeine can aggravate urinary symptoms and even contribute to incontinence. Check with your doctor before taking green tea extract if you have stomach ulcers, anxiety disorders, or if are taking anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin (warfarin), due to green tea’s vitamin K content.
The amount of catechin in green tea does vary depending on where the tea is cultivated, the diversity of plants used, the harvest season, and how the tea is processed. Generally, Japanese green tea has a greater EGCG content than does Chinese tea. Some of the superior Japanese green teas high in EGCG include Sencha uchiyama. Gyokuro, Sencha, and Matcha.
References for Green Tea for Prostatitis:
Kurahashi N. et al. Green tea consumption and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: a prospective study. Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Jan 1;167(1):71-7. Epub 2007 Sep 29.
Lee YS et al. Synergistic effect between catechin and ciprofloxacin on chronic bacterial prostatitis rat model. Int J Urol 2005 Apr; 12(4): 383-89. green tea for prostatitis
Yoon BI et al. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of nanocatechin in a chronic bacterial prostatitis rat model. J Infect Chemother 2010 Aug 7