Coffee or Green Tea for Lung Cancer?

Coffee or tea?  That is the question.  Both have been touted for various benefits to the health, but many people wonder which beverage is best when it comes to the development of cancer – specifically lung cancer.

TEA RESEARCH

Next to water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage across the globe.  Green tea - in particular - is popular for its many purported health benefits.  Produced from the unfermented leaves of the Camillia senesis plant, green tea has higher concentrations of healthy polyphenols than other types of tea.  

It has been suggested that these healthy polyphenols can help reduce risks for cancer.  In fact, rates are inclined to be lower in countries where people regularly consume green tea.  Several studies have examined whether green tea may prevent or reduce risks for lung cancer, and there have been mixed results. 

However, a review of 22 studies from 1966 to 2008 was published in September of 2009 in the Journal, Lung Cancer. The studies reviewed investigated whether green and black tea consumption had an effect on risks for lung cancer.  Meta-analysis determined that there was a borderline-significant link between the highest level of green tea consumption and reduced chances for development of lung cancer.  Also, it was concluded that an increase in green tea consumption of two cups per day reduced risks for lung cancer by 18 percent.  There was no significant link to reduced lung cancer risks for consumers of black tea.

New research conducted in petri dishes has shed light on how green tea may work to suppress cancer in the lungs.  EGCG is a compound in green tea that is known to have anti-cancer properties.  The research found that EGCG boosts levels of the molecule mi-R210 within lung cancer cells which slows their growth.  Cells with high levels of mi-R210 were prevented from growing on top of one another which is typical for cancer cells.

COFFEE RESEARCH

Research has shown that coffee drinking can offer some very good side effects such as a boost in good cholesterol and reduced chances for diabetes.  While there is no conclusive evidence that the consumption of coffee can increase risks for developing most types of cancer, recent studies have determined that coffee consumption may boost chances for developing lung cancer.

Similar to the aforementioned tea review, 13 studies were examined involving 5,347 patients with lung cancer and 104,911 patients without lung cancer in research conducted from 1966 to 2009 to determine if coffee consumption played a role in the development of lung cancer.  The results showed a significant link between the highest coffee consumption and risks for lung cancer.  In addition, an increase in the consumption of coffee of two cups per day raised risks for lung cancer by 14 percent.

Another study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas examined 1,088 patients with lung cancer as well as 1,127 control patients that were matched by age, gender, ethnicity and smoking status.  Looking at black and green tea intake and coffee consumption, it was determined that chances for lung cancer among individuals who drank more than 3 cups of coffee per day were 30% higher than those for consumers of either decaffeinated black tea or green tea (with chances for green tea drinkers being the lowest in the group).  The researchers concluded that drinking more than one cup of green or decaffeinated black tea per week might have chemo-protective effects on lung cancer.

Due to the conclusions of the studies above, people may want to opt for green or black tea when it comes to caffeine consumption.  However, because the effects of smoking and other factors may confound the results, these conclusions should be carefully interpreted.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22964413
http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/1769-green-tea-lung-cancer-egcg.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19362749

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