by Margie King

Tea is the most popular beverage in the world and many people drink it for its pleasant taste, comfort, and general health benefits.  But green tea can do much more. It can save lives.

Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia discovered that two compounds found in green tea show great promise in the treatment of two types of tumors and a deadly congenital disease. The discovery resulted from research led by principal investigator, Dr. Thomas Smith at The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and was published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The two compounds are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG).  Both are found in naturally in green tea.  The researchers found that they are able to compensate for a genetic disorder called hyperinsulinism/hyperammonemia (HHS). In this disorder, patients (typically children) over-secrete insulin when they eat protein.  As a result they can become severally hypoglycemic, and this can often lead to death.

The condition is caused by a failure of the system that regulates the digestion of amino acids.  EGCG and ECG were found to be effective by turning off glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), an enzyme responsible for the digestion of amino acids.

Two other research groups have validated and extended these findings in cell (in vitro) models to demonstrate that blocking GDH with green tea is very effective at killing two different kinds of tumors: glioblastomas, an aggressive type of brain tumor, and tuberous sclerosis complex disorder, a genetic disease that causes non-malignant tumors to grow on a number of organs.

Green tea has become increasingly popular among Americans and can be found on most supermarket shelves in the form of tea bags and loose tea as well as commercially produced iced teas and other fruit drinks.

Green tea is one of the three main categories of tea, the other two being black and oolong. Green tea is the least processed of the three and is steamed but, unlike black and oolong, is not fermented.

The caffeine content of green tea is about half that of coffee and it’s also available in decaffeinated versions.

Studies have associated green tea or the compounds in it with all of the following:

Even professional athletes are beginning to recognize the power of green tea.  The Philadelphia Flyers were reported to have adopted green tea as their secret ingredient in creating a frozen beverage that allows players to recover more quickly from dehydration and nutrient loss.

For additional research visit’s research page on green tea’s potential therapeutic value in over 260 health conditions: Green Tea research.

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MKingMargie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. She is also a professional copywriter and prolific health and nutrition writer whose work appears as the National Nutrition Examiner. To contact Margie, visit