Now we can’t drink tea!

If you’re a man and you live in Scotland do not drink tea. According to a BBC report  >7 cups a day give you a >50% greater chance of developing prostrate cancer than “normal” tea drinkers. This was the result of a  study over 37 years involving 6000 volunteers aged between 21 & 75 years of age. I’m surprised they didn’t choose whisky and/or beer (they have probably been checked at some point in distant past). This is in direct contrast to a National Cancer Institute report which suggests the opposite, at least for green tea.

What’s next I wonder, coffee is already on the black list, as well as fatty foods smoking, no doubt sex will also rear it’s ugly head in the list of cancer producing agents, water is also dangerous, fish swim in it and you can drown as well.

Wiki tells us the exact opposite to the results reported by the Glasgow study. Tea is actually beneficial for you in all sorts of ways.

So what’s in tea that makes it so harmful or so good for you? Well there is theanine and caffeine, making up about 3% of its dry weight up to 90mg per cup, depending upon the tea. Theanine moves across the blood brain barrier (quite distant from the prostrate) and has a synergistic effect with caffeine, high doses even providing a neuroprotective effect. Caffeine is a stimulant and the author of the Wiki page suggests that it may even have moderately protective effect against certain cancers.


There are also things like theobromine (or should it be teaobromine) and theophylline. So those compounds are  probably not the cause of this higher prostrate cancer risk.

What else?

Up to 30% of the dry weight of tea are the catechins. These look like a possible candidates! Some present in green tea are shown below.


Just look at all those nasty phenols, they may even have antioxidant properties, but as carcinogens, well,  I think they are not very high on the list.

The tea plant apparently has the capacity to absorb lots of the pollutants we pump out every day, e.g. fluoride and aluminum, the latter  can be present up to 30,000ppm by dry weight! Exactly what the form of the fluoride and aluminum is I don’t know, presumably sodium fluoride, perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the aluminum source.

So everyone, what shall we drink now? How about red wine, with all that reservatrol it must be good for you perhaps the chances of developing cancers will be reduced. It’s like everything we do (apart from working and paying tax), taken in moderation it is very enjoyable, but taken in excess, well I guess we have all suffered a hangover at some time.

Enjoy your tea breaks.



  1. you should flip your caffene so all the xanthenes point the same direction to satisfy my OCD… you forgot to mention cooked red meat on the list of things that will give you cancer… I don’t care if I get cancer I’m eating bacon!

  2. Have you seen this exhaustive list (according to the Daily Mail) of things that cause or cure cancer?

    Its all very confusing.

    • That’s a great list, thanks for posting it.
      It makes me wonder how we survive at all.
      I would still suggest that things taken in moderation over a long period of time will not cause cancer. I mean you don’t eat a 100kg of bacon every day.
      I suppose though everyone’s definition of moderation is different.

  3. one cup of the tea Yerba Mate is supposedly equivalent of smoking a pack a day of cigarettes. the tea is smoke-dried giving the carcinogens in it.

  4. thanks for the information. In contrast, there has been many reports for cancer prevention by green tea

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