When fibroid cells are put in a test tube and green tea extract (EGCG) is added, fibroid cells grow more slowly and many are are killed (1); Similarly when mice with uterine fibroids - leiomyomas - are given green tea extracts daily in their water their fibroids have been demonstrated to shrink, reducing in both weight and size; the researchers of this study found that:
"... EGCG treatment dramatically reduced the volume and weight of tumors (fibroids) at 4 and 8 weeks after the treatment."
Green tea has been found to have potent effects on the growth of both uterine fibroids (and endometriosis) which could help many women whose fertility is threatened by this disorder. The researchers of this study (1) stated that:
"...a relatively modest dose of EGCG ... that was delivered in drinking water was successful in inducing a dramatic and sustained reduction in fibroid tumor size up to eight weeks after treatment."
The researchers also suggested that treatment with EGCG may have a role in helping women to avoid surgery stating that tea extract treatment might be:
"...particularly useful for long-term use in women with a low fibroid tumor burden to arrest tumor progression and avoid the development of severe symptoms that necessitate major surgery."
This is not the first only study tout the benefits of green tea for uterine fibroids, a similar study - published in Fertility and Sterility - came to the same conclusion stating that:
"Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits the proliferation of HuLM cells (fibroid cells) and induces apoptosis (cell death)."
"These results suggest that EGCG may be a potential anti-uterine fibroid agent acting through multiple signal transduction pathways."
Uterine fibroids affect 25-30% of US women and can cause infertility when the fibroids project into the uterus distorting the sites where an embryo needs to implant. Fibroids can cause excessive bleeding which in turn can cause anemia, fibroids are often discovered as part of a fertility exam through hysteroscopy or ultrasound.
Fibroids are four times more likely to affect African-American women; studies show that vitamin D deficiency can promote fibroid growth and African-American women are particularly susceptible to vitamin D deficiency.
Having high estrogen levels or poor estrogen metabolism is another risk for developing fibroids; dietary changes and certain nutritional supplements may help to improve estrogen metabolism and slow fibroid growth. If you have fibroids, or have had fibroids surgically removed and would like to avoid fibroid re-growth consider with your physician whether green tea extracts may be a good choice for you.
Tea extracts are best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach, they are potent anti-estrogens and should be used only by women who have fibroids or endometriosis to avoid harming fertility.
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.
(1) Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;202(3):289.e1-9. Epub 2010 Jan 13.
Green tea extract inhibits proliferation of uterine leiomyoma cells in vitro and in nude mice. Zhang D, Al-Hendy M, Richard-Davis G, Montgomery-Rice V, Sharan C, Rajaratnam V, Khurana A, Al-Hendy A.
(2) Fertil Steril. 2010 Oct;94(5):1887-93. Epub 2009 Oct 12. Antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of epigallocatechin gallate on human leiomyoma cells.
Zhang D, Al-Hendy M, Richard-Davis G, Montgomery-Rice V, Rajaratnam V, Al-Hendy A.