“Is it true you shouldn’t drink green tea if you’re taking chemo? I read this at [a popular website].”
No, it’s not true and I’m not sure why someone would make that kind of statement, unless the writer just couldn’t do her homework. In laboratory tests, green tea has actually increased the effectiveness of some (but not all) cancer drugs.
A 2009 study looked at a group of green tea chemicals known as polyphenols and ultimately found it—in their words —an effective adjunct to chemotherapy for cancer of the bile ducts. And a 2007 study from Italy found that green tea increased the effectiveness of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, especially in cancers that were tamoxifen-resistant.
Now, this certainly does not mean that green tea is appropriate for every cancer patient. It can, for example, interfere with bortezomib, which is sold under the trademark Velcade.
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