Green tea consumption may lower fertility for some low-estrogen women, but for women with endometriosis, green tea's potent anti-estrogen effects may help to resolve endometriosis upping the chances of conceiving. Green tea contains a powerful component called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and drop estrogen levels markedly. The same mechanisms that allow green tea extracts to curtail tumor growth - by dropping estrogen and blocking vascular growth factors - may also prevent and reduce the spread of endometriosis.
A German study (1) - published in Human Reproduction - investigated the effect of EGCG on endometriosis and noted that EGCG favorably altered both estrogen activity and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which allows endometriosis lesions to develop, spread and sustain growth.
The study found that EGCG suppresses estrogen (E2) activity and reduced VEGF activity in endometrial cells inhibiting the development of new blood vessels and blood flow in the endometriotic lesions. Remarkably EGCG inhibited blood vessel formation in the endometriotic lesions without compromising healthy blood vessel development in the ovaries. The researchers state that '...EGCG-treatment induces regression of the endometriotic lesions' and concluded that:
"Our data indicate that EGCG might be a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of endometriosis, preventing the establishment of new endometriotic lesions."
A similar study from Hong Kong (2) also investigated the ability of green tea extracts to resolve endometriosis. These researchers stated that
'Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea has powerful anti-angiogenic properties...' and the researchers speculated that these anti-angiogenic properties may help endometriosis lesions to regress. This study also came to the conclusion that women with endometriosis may benefit from green tea therapy and concluded that:
"EGCG significantly inhibits the development of experimental endometriosis through anti-angiogenic effects."
If you are interested in consuming green tea to heal endometriosis ask your physician about this novel strategy. No one is quite sure yet how much green tea you should take, one thing that is becoming clearer though is how to take your tea. Green tea should be brewed for a full ten minutes and consumed within half an hour to maximize the EGCG absorption. Time to rethink iced green teas and commercial green tea drinks!
Also according to a University of Arizona study, green tea - or EGCG capsules - are best absorbed on an empty stomach. The researchers of this study state that the 'oral bioavailability of the major green tea constituents, green tea catechins, is low' and so they examined how to best maximize EGCG absorption. A three to five fold increase in plasma levels of EGCG was noted when green tea extracts were consumed after fasting and the researchers stated that:
"...greater oral bioavailability of free catechins can be achieved by taking the Polyphenon E capsules on an empty stomach after an overnight fast."
"Polyphenon E up to a dose that contains 800 mg epigallocatechin gallate is well-tolerated when taken under the fasting condition. This dosing condition is also expected to optimize the biological effects of tea catechins."
Green tea, especially in concentrated extracts may be a novel way to help resolve infertility due to endometriosis, and to keep the pelvis endometriosis-free after laparoscopic removal of endometriosis.Be sure to ask your physician before embarking upon any new supplement regimes.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.
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1. Hum Reprod. 2008 Oct;23(10):2308-18. Epub 2008 Jul 4. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate inhibits estrogen-induced activation of endometrial cells in vitro and causes regression of endometriotic lesions in vivo. Laschke MW, et al.,
Hum Reprod. 2009 Mar;24(3):608-18. Epub 2008 Dec 16. Anti-angiogenic effects of green tea catechin on an experimental endometriosis mouse model. Xu H, et al.
3. Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Jun 15;11(12):4627-33. Effects of dosing condition on the oral bioavailability of green tea catechins after single-dose administration of Polyphenon E in healthy individuals. Chow HH. et al.,