For FIBROCYSTIC BREASTS, green tea extract is a classic breast protector that can improve hormone balance, ease breast pain and inflammation, and act as a potent antioxidant, to maximize healthy breast tissue and its immune function.
Fibrocystic breast changes are benign, they affect 20-40% of premenopausal women from the ages of 20 to 50, and painful symptoms can continue for many women after menopause. The condition of fibrocystic breasts encompasses a variety of benign breast conditions associated with changes in breast physiology which may be related to diet, environmental exposure, and hormonal fluctuations. Symptoms include increased lumpiness of the breasts and cyst formation, often involving several patches of both breasts. Tenderness and cyst prominence may be worse before periods and during PMS, and maybe exacerbated by estrogen dominance or an increased ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Fibrocystic changes are aggravated by the methylxanthine group of foods including coffee, tea, chocolate and caffeinated medications, which promote excess fibrous tissue and cyst formation.
Boosting natural antioxidant levels in breast tissue appears to soothe and prevent fibrocystic breast changes. Cutting-edge research reveals that green tea is a potent antioxidant that supports healthy breast tissue and breast immune functions. Green tea scavenges reactive oxygen species, inhibits abnormal cell division, protects against gene mutations caused by environmental toxins, encourages abnormal cells to self-destruct (apoptosis), and may support DNA repair.
Green tea has the ability to encourage healthy antioxidant status of breast and other tissues. This protective effect prevents excess cyst and fibrous tissue proliferation, and helps to slow the progression of fibrocystic breast changes. A 2016 study was aimed at evaluating the levels of oxidative stress markers in breast diseases. It is one of few studies that have reported on the antioxidant profile of patients with benign breast conditions. Recognizing that benign breast lesions such as fibroadenoma, fibrocystic changes, breast abscess, duct ectasia, and mastitis are common abnormalities of the breasts, researchers wanted to better understand their relationship to the risk of development of subsequent breast carcinogenesis. The study of 60 women with benign breast disease discovered the important role of oxidative damage in the progression of these disorders. This conclusion reinforces the importance of antioxidants as a critical part of breast care management.3
Green tea and its polyphenols can also improve hormone balance, which is often a strong influence on cyclic breast tissue changes. Better ratios of progesterone to estrogen can help to relieve the symptoms of fibrocystic breasts. Many women notice painful or sensitive breasts, especially in tissues with fibrocystic problems, just prior to menstruation. This has been attributed to a more prominent estrogen than progesterone effect on breast tissue at this time of the cycle. The condition may be due to a hormonal imbalance; either a deficiency of progesterone resulting in an increased estrogen to progesterone ratio, or a disproportionately low level of the gentle estrogen called estriol relative to the stronger estrone. Also, an underactive thyroid may cause an elevated level of the hormone prolactin. Other research suggests that high amounts of estradiol relative to low testosterone may worsen fibrocystic symptoms. As green tea can help restore higher progesterone and estriol levels, and support better hormone proportions, its hormonal benefits discourage fibrocystic mastopathy.
Green tea is produced from the leaves and buds of Camellia sinensis, and it is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Green tea is extremely high in polyphenols which have impressive medicinal actions. The green tea polyphenols, including catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),epicatechin gallate, and proanthocyanidins, show antioxidant action as good or better than vitamins C or E in most studies. The plant must be lightly steamed and dried to obtain the therapeutic constituents: if tea leaves are allowed to oxidize the enzymes in the resulting black tea can degrade the polyphenols. Steaming inactivates these enzymes and protects the healing antioxidants. Even better, in addition to its own antioxidant effects, green tea appears to stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes in the liver, small intestine, and lungs. Since the liver breaks down hormones, enhancing proper liver function leads to clearing the stronger estrogens efficiently, and promoting healthy breast tissue hormone balance that discourages fibrocystic disorders.
As studies have concluded, high concentrations of green tea extract are necessary to reach therapeutic levels. We have had excellent results with an ideal 45% EGCG or 150-165mg per capsule. This is equivalent to three cups of green tea, but without the tea’s 120mg of caffeine. Patients taking a polyphenol-rich green tea concentrate often report having better stamina, better moods, and an increased sense of wellbeing.
Recommendation: Green Tea extract 300mg per total dose, ideally containing about 98% polyphenols, 80% catechins, and 45% EGCG, along with whole green tea leaf of about 50mg. Take once to three times daily, with breakfast or lunch, or as directed by your health care provider.
- Reuben, Sharon C., et al. “Modulation of angiogenesis by dietary phytoconstituents in the prevention and intervention of breast cancer.” Molecular nutrition & food research 56.1 (2012): 14-29.
- He, Shu-Ming, Eli Chan, and Shu-Feng Zhou. “ADME properties of herbal medicines in humans: evidence, challenges and strategies.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 17.4 (2011): 357-407.
- Karki K et al. An assessment oxidative damage and non-enzymatic antioxidants status alteration in relation to disease progression in breast diseases. Med Sci (Basel). 2016 Oct 27;4(4).
- L’Allemain G. Multiple actions of EGCG, the main component of green tea. Bull Cancer 1999;86:721-
- Su x, et al. Intakes of fat and micronutrients between ages 13 and 18 years and the incidence of proliferative benign breast disease. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 Jan;26(1):79-90.