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J Nutr. 2006 Jul;136(7):1839-43.

Tea polyphenols and theaflavins are present in prostate tissue of humans and mice after green and black tea consumption.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, VA West Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA.


Green and black tea have shown promise in the chemoprevention of prostate cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the bioavailability and bioactivity of tea polyphenols (PP) and theaflavins in human serum and human and mouse tissues. A decaffeinated black tea diet was administered to C57BL/6 mice. PPs and theaflavins were found in the small and large intestine, liver, and prostate in conjugated and free forms. The relative prostate bioavailability of theaflavin was 70% higher than that of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In the second mouse study, a green tea (GT) diet was administered followed by the control diet for 1-5 d. Epicatechin (EC), EGCG, and epicatechin gallate (ECG) concentrations in prostate tissue were significantly decreased after 1 d of consuming the control diet. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGC), however, did not decrease significantly. For the human study, 20 men scheduled for surgical prostatectomy were randomly assigned to consume 1.42 L daily of GT, BT, or a caffeine-matched soda control (SC) for 5 d before radical prostatectomy. Tea PPs were greater in prostate samples from men consuming BT and GT than in men consuming SC (P = 0.0025). Although tea PP were not detectable in serum, ex vivo LNCaP prostate cancer cell proliferation was less when cells were grown in media containing patient serum collected after BT (P < 0.001) and GT (P = 0.025) consumption relative to baseline serum This is the first human study to show that tea polyphenols and theaflavins are bioavailable in the prostate where they may be active in the prevention of prostate cancer.

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