NEWS BRIEF: Outsmart breast cancer by brewing a pot of tea

I know I’ve said it before, but the study of epigenetics might be the most exciting thing happening in medicine today.

Here’s how it works: In order for genes to influence your health, they require “gene expression.” And epigenetic changes regulate gene expression, by determining whether those deadly genes rise to surface… or if they stay silent.

There’s a long list of factors—like your diet, your activity level, or exposure to environmental toxins—that may lead to epigenetic changes. And these epigenetic changes can either protect you from a lifetime of chronic illness… or send you to an early grave.

What makes this so intriguing? Well, unlike other hereditary markers, epigenetic changes aren’t carved in stone ahead of time. And they can be reversed. Which means that you have a lot more control over your DNA than you may have thought.

And in some cases, saving your own life can be as simple as sipping tea.

That’s not an exaggeration, either. A recent study from Uppsala University in Sweden found that tea consumption can provide critical epigenetic protection for women. In particular, many of the epidemic changes were found in genes involved in cancer and estrogen metabolism. (A dangerously common combination, prominent in cancers of the breasts, ovaries, or the uterus.)

This finding follows on the heels of previous research, showing that coffee and tea are both potential cancer-fighters—capable of slowing tumor growth, soothing inflammation, and modulating hormones. All benefits that, in the end, may prove to come courtesy of epigenetic changes.

Laboratory research certainly points to this explanation—with results showing that catechins (the active compounds in tea, like EGCG) can trigger epigenetic changes in cultured cancer cells. But more studies are needed before researchers will have the full story.

In the meantime, you could do worse than to brew up a pot of tea as the weather gets colder—provided you hold the sugar, of course.



“Tea consumption leads to epigenetic changes in women.” (2017 May 31). ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 9, 2017 from