Doctor's Note

The antioxidant data with that interesting lemon juice result can be found in Green Tea vs. White. Other interesting videos on tea include Dietary Brain Wave Alteration and Cannabis Receptors & Food. The longer-the-better brewing time for white tea didn't surprise me, but this did: Cold Steeping Green Tea. Another way to maximize the phytonutrient absorption in tea is to eat it; see Is Matcha Good for You? and A Better Breakfast. One can overdo it, though: Overdosing on Tea. Other ways to protect one's DNA include eating broccoli, avoiding bacon, not overdoing stevia, and eating a plant-based diet (see Repairing DNA Damage and Research Into Reversing Aging).  

Isn't caffeinated tea dehydrating though? That's the topic of tomorrow's NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day. While you're waiting, there are an additional 1,000+ topics to explore.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts:   Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?Ergothioneine: A New Vitamin?Why Less Breast Cancer in Asia?, and Foods That May Block Cancer Formation

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    The antioxidant data with that interesting lemon juice result can be found in Green Tea vs. White. Other interesting videos on tea include Dietary Brain Wave Alteration and Cannabis Receptors & Food. The longer-the-better brewing time for white tea didn’t surprise me, but this did: Cold Steeping Green Tea. Another way to maximize the phytonutrient absorption in tea is to eat it; see Is Matcha Good for You? and A Better Breakfast. One can overdo it, though: Overdosing on Tea. Other ways to protect one’s DNA include eating broccoli, avoiding bacon, not overdoing stevia, and eating a plant-based diet (see Repairing DNA Damage and Research Into Reversing Aging).  Isn’t caffeinated tea dehydrating though? That’s the topic of tomorrow’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day. While you’re waiting, there are an additional 1,000+ topics to explore.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Dr. G if you keep teaching us how to protect our bodies form all the mutagens we are going to be the youngest looking old people in the world.

      You are our David Copperfield–but instead of keeping the secret to yourself you have taught us how to be our own Fountain of Youth ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregmil Greg Milette

    How do you think brewing for 5 minutes hot compares to cold brewing overnight in terms of the resulting antimutagenic activity?

  • DLS

    An anti-mutagenicity assay in a petri dish says nothing at all about how white tea may function to protect DNA in a body consuming the tea. This sort of exp’t is at best a means of “observation”, the first step in the scientific method. So, an interesting hypothesis has been generated: white tea contains a substance(s) which can act as an anti-mutagen. But is this ingredient absorbed from the human gut? If so, does the active ingredient get past the intestinal enzyme defenses? Past the liver without being altered? Is it rapidly excreted by the kidneys before it has a chance to do any DNA defending? Is its dilution in the whole body past the point that it has any action? Lots to find out before assuming that it does anything at all. Who knows–perhaps it is metabolized by the liver into a compound that damages DNA. Nature is complex.

    • SJ M.D.

      However interesting. Drip a little milk to see if there is any protection. Nope.

    • Paul

      I think you have valid points. But to say that it says nothing is a bit of an overstatement itself, isn’t it. I mean there is lots of epi pointing the protective effects of green tea relative to non-tea drinkers. It’s like putting pieces of a jig saw puzzle together with a blue sky and clouds together and then saying whoops my piece doesn’t have any blue in it, it’s just white. The overall evidence is consistent in the same direction. Less processed tea is more protective, longer steeping better than less. It’s a geiger counter not a silver bullet. We know green tea is protective. how best to prepare it, how long to steep it. We have some answers or better phrased “associations” to what you ask. Doesn’t require a leap of faith, just a small step.

      • yardplanter

        For another part of the data puzzle that points in the same direction see: International J Food Science

        Comparative activity of antioxidants from wheat sprouts, Morinda citrifolia, fermented papaya and white tea

        2006, Vol. 57, No. 3-4
        ,
        Pages 168-177 … a test tube study with extracts……the purported antioxidants are probably from families of reducing glycosides and polyphenols’…. . What level of bioavailability would be developed by these plants is indeed open to question, but it is a likely supposition that they are indeed beneficial – except for papaya which is just really tasty- because they act through the same agents that have been found to be active in clinical studies e.g see: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/6/1698s.abstract

  • DLS

    >Isn’t caffeinated tea dehydrating though?

    No; if it were, the water-pill folks would go out of business. And believe it or not, I have heard people say, “Water is a diuretic! It makes me pee!”

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Guess I’m back to liking the white variants of tea, not that I have been overindulging in heterocyclic amines but I’ll bet it’s protective to almost anything that’s mutagenic, Including the Incredible Hulk.  That’s why I believe in the Incredible Bulk–you know what I mean. ;-O 

    • SJ M.D.

      Dr Dynamic, I had a professor in gastroenterology, who said that if you take a patient, and let the patient defecate on a white piece of paper from 1 meter above, you can make rather exact diagnosis of their intestine ailment, you dont necessarily need fancy things like colonoscopy, biopsy and so forth.

      • SJ M.D.

        For obvious reasons it was not performed though !

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Dr. McDougall taught me about a famed surgeon that lived in Africa for about 30 years from Britain (I cannot remember his name), and he learned something very profound: 

          Big poop, Small Hospital; Small Poop, Big Hospital.

          • Michael Greger M.D.

             The inimitable Dr. Burkitt!

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            That’s it!! Thanks!

          • SJ M.D.

            Okay – :-) :-)

          • SJ M.D.

            Stephen Smith M.D.  (Bellevue Hospital, New York) said 100 years ago: The art of growing old is to get a bad stomach, and take care of that bad stomach.

  • Laurie Jess

    Thx ! and back to white tea for me!

  • Dan Brunell

    Drs. Beliveau and Gingras’ work shows a wide variety of polyphenols in green tea from different sources.  Japanese green tea shows a much higher content,  A list can be found at 
    http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=8070 or in their “Foods that Fight Cancer” book.  Since the winner of their tests has 5 times the amount of ECGC than the lowest Chinese teas, it poses the questions of validity of the green vs. white tea relationship unless it was done with a widely grown, controlled group of teas.  FYI the green tea champ can be purchased from a Montreal company.

    • Oompa Do!

      That assumes that ECGC is responsible for most of the mutagenic reduction. Let’s not assume facts not in evidence.

  • Kenton

    Well done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cesare.civetta Cesare Civetta

    Dr. Greger,

    Would you please comment about gynostemma tea and its recommended consumption and comparison to the other best teas etc? thanks,
    cesare civetta

  • mbglife

    Years ago I either read or heard in an online talk, that sencha and jasmine green teas had roughly the same level of anti-cancer benefits. But, when the two were both consumed daily–not necessarily at the same time– the protection level almost doubled. I can’t relocate this citation. Is anyone familiar with it.

    Also, in various studies that cite the number of cups of green tea consumed, in Japan or in the US, they always refer to cups. What’s a cup? Is it a tiny 2 or 3oz cup or a western 4 or 5 ounce teacup or an 8 to 10 or more ounce cup that is commonly assumed for drinks like coffee? I’m surprised that researchers don’t cite their findings in ounces or some other standard measure?

  • Neal

    Looks like they took four different white teas and ran them up against one green. The chart used here takes the best performing white against the single green tea. The freshness issue is major for green teas (perhaps whites as well) according to some studies. So is it really a worthwhile comparison? It’s hard-impossible in fact-to get great and fresh longjing in the U.S. Chinese storage of teas is also very often quite bad. Chinese teas can have immense levels of pesticides as well. Perhaps comparing a very fresh Japanese green tea which sometimes can be obtained quite fresh with great storage might be a good idea here.

  • Ilana

    So there are a billion types (or at least it seems like it) of white tea and green tea. Which type do you recommend? Or does it matter as long as it’s white / green?

  • tavit

    Now we know we should stick with the white tea, but the question is which one is the healthiest? Silver Needle, White Peony, Long Life Eyebrow or Tribute Eyebrow?

  • Sebastian Tristan

    If I grind White tea and drink it with water, would it be the same as drinking matcha?

  • SocialTeaV

    Thank you Dr. Michael. All teas gives the same Nutrients. Except very insignificant deviation. White tea is a fad started only in USA. And the study is not enough o prove anything according to FDA. Please go to the dedicated Tea site for more info. http://www.socialteav.com Thanks. And go to either “ScientificResearchandOtherTeaPapers” or “Tea4Health.”

  • Ben Loki

    The ABSOLUTE highest intake of anti-oxidants and carcinogenic protection is to consume Matcha tea (form of green that has specific growing, processing, and ingesting techniques). It has been shown to have over TEN TIMES the positive nutrient and anti-oxidant levels. Find out more:
    http://www.sproutnourishment.com/product-category/matchagreentea/

  • cyndishisara

    The activity of white tea against anaerobic bacteria means it can be applied externally to protect our skin. I have used it for wound healing. I found this article in my search for healing agents. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19653897

  • Andy

    Dear Dr. Michael Greger, first off thanks for your terrific site with all those useful informations. I’d like to know whether there are studies comparing the health effects of brewed conventional green teas to matcha. I enjoy both each and every day and love their taste.