Despite its reputation for being a healthy drink, green tea can actually be bad for your health and raise your risk of developing certain health problems. Research has suggested that the antioxidants in green tea may increase the risk of developing certain health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and liver disorders. The evidence against green tea has been growing, and there is now a growing body of evidence that suggests this popular drink is not so healthy after all.
Green tea is one of the most popular products in the world. It’s known as the “miracle health drink” for various health benefits. Although it comes from the same family as black and oolong tea, green tea goes through a different processing than black and oolong, a process that makes it safe for human consumption. Green tea is made of the leaves of Camellia sinensis, which comes from China. Camellia sinensis is well known for its multitude of health benefits.
Green tea is a popular commodity, and it’s not hard to see why. All the stuff you’ll hear about green tea can effectively get you motivated to drink your fair share of green tea. Whether it’s because of how it makes you feel, how it boosts your metabolism, or how it’s good for your skin, all the great benefits that green tea has to offer can motivate you to drink your fair share of green tea.
In recent years, green tea has gotten a lot of favorable media attention. Is it, however, really beneficial to everyone?
There is a subset of individuals who may be adversely affected by green tea. Given the current popularity of green tea, it’s important to communicate this information with everyone who is concerned about their health.
Green tea is a kind of tea that is used has a long history of studies supporting its health advantages, including anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant qualities.
Green tea’s effects on the immune system are responsible for many of its advantages, but here is also where it may create difficulties.
But, before we get into how green tea affects the immune system, let’s take a short look at how it works in a simpler form.
Should you get rid of this seemingly innocuous item from your pantry?
An introduction to the immune system
White blood cells make up the immune system, which are subsequently differentiated into five distinct types of immune cells. Lymphocytes are a kind of cell that is one of them.
T cells have their own subgroup of cells termed T helper cells, T regulatory cells, cytotoxic T cells, and T suppressor cells, and lymphocytes are further divided down into B cells and T cells.
Because the immune system may seem perplexing, rather of going through each cell in detail, I’ll use a real-life example to demonstrate how it works.
Assume you’ve cut yourself with a soiled knife. Bacteria infiltrate your skin, activating a macrophage, our immune system’s initial line of defense (picture Pac Man).
Macrophages are like huge, obese security guards with small billy clubs — inefficient, yet effective enough to slow down an intruder while more sophisticated security guards are summoned.
When faced with an intruder, macrophages summon their allies, T helper cells. T helper cells use a sequence of chemical signals to alert the rest of the immune system that an intruder has passed the barrier.
T helper cells specifically activate two kinds of cells: cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells, both of which are muscle-bound troops that assist fight and destroy bacterial invaders.
Once the germs have been destroyed, the immune system must put a halt to the assault, which is done by T suppressor cells, which “suppress” the battle.
If the bacterium is too strong for the T cells to handle, or if the T cells are having trouble locating the invader, as in the case of a virus, the B cells are summoned to help. T helper cells urge B cells to produce antibodies against a specific invader.
To put it another way, if the T helper cells tell the immune system that the invader is a man in an orange sweater, the B cells will make antibodies against him so that when they meet him, they can latch onto him and wave a flag, making it easier for the cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells to find him.
But here’s the most important thing to know:
- The first T cell reaction is referred to as a “Th1 response.”
- A “Th2 response” refers to the secondary B cell antibody response.
The Th1 (T cell) and Th2 (B cell) components of our immune system are in balance in a healthy body. And it is the ideal situation.
However, an imbalance of the Th1/Th2 system may be advantageous in certain cases. Women, for example, have a propensity to shift toward Th2 dominance during pregnancy, which is beneficial since a Th1 shift would result in fetal rejection.
Autoimmune illness is characterized by an immune system that is out of balance.
Almost all autoimmune illnesses — disorders in which the immune system attacks self-tissue – have a Th1 or Th2 dominant immune system.
To put it another way, autoimmune diseases are characterized by either T cell overexpression and B cell suppression (Th1 dominant) or the polar opposite (Th2 dominant) (Th2 dominant).
T cells are high; B cells are low when Th1 is dominating.
T cells are down; B cells are high in a Th2-dominant environment.
It’s critical for individuals with autoimmune diseases to have a healthy Th1/Th2 balance.
The more out of balance the immune system is, the more voraciously it will target body tissues when it is dysregulated and begins attacking human tissues.
The more out of balance the Th1/Th2 system is in someone with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease in which the immune system destroys cartilage, the more cartilage degradation occurs.
When good meals turn into harmful foods
A variety of natural substances, according to studies, have a propensity to push either side of the Th1/Th2 balance.
One such substance is green tea. By suppressing the Th1 side of the immune system, the active ingredients in green tea tend to encourage the Th2 system to be more prominent.
Green tea or products containing concentrated green tea (such as a green tea supplement) should be avoided by anybody with a Th2-dominant autoimmune disease (see table below), as it may upregulate an already dominant system and lead to greater tissue damage.
Green tea, on the other hand, would be helpful to someone with a Th1-dominant autoimmune disease since it suppresses the Th1 aspect of the immune system.
The herb echinacea is another popular example that most people are familiar with.
Echinacea helps increase the T cells (Th1 response) involved in the first assault of a foreign invader when individuals become ill with a cold or flu.
Echinacea, on the other hand, is likely to aggravate a Th1-dominant autoimmune disease and should thus be avoided.
An example from the real world
We had a patient come into our clinic with a variety of symptoms after taking a single antioxidant pill one night before bedtime, including heart palpitations, anxiety, “inward trembling,” and sleeplessness.
Hypothyroidism, a low thyroid disease marked by weight gain, tiredness, and depression-like symptoms, had previously been identified in the patient.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is Hashimoto’s syndrome (also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).
After taking the antioxidant, the patient’s symptoms suggested an upregulated, or enhanced assault on her thyroid gland, which subsequently released excess thyroid hormone into her system, producing hyperthyroid symptoms.
It made sense when we looked at the antioxidant’s components.
Green tea extract and curcumin, two of the major components, have been found to drive the immune system toward Th2 dominance. We determined that she had a Th2-dominant Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease based on the symptoms she had after taking the antioxidant.
We theorized that the green tea and curcumin encouraged her already unbalanced immune system to assault her thyroid gland more aggressively.
There is no such thing as a perfect food.
We are all distinct people, with varied genetics, biological requirements, and responses to consumed food. One person’s food may be poisonous to another.
Many foods and supplements have been shown to offer a variety of health advantages, but not everyone will benefit from them.
If you have an autoimmune disease, depending on your Th1/Th2 dominance, some of these chemicals may make you feel lot better or much worse. You may discuss having a lymphocyte panel performed with your doctor to identify which lymphocyte dominance you have and then taking the right chemicals to assist your immune system go in the other way.
However, do not do this without first consulting a competent medical expert. Pushing your immune system in the incorrect way may result in more damage to the tissue(s) your immune system is fighting.
Green tea has an established track record of advantages for the typical individual, and it appears prudent to include green tea in your diet if you do not have an autoimmune disease.
Green tea, on the other hand, may not be for you if you have an autoimmune disease, particularly a Th2 dominant disorder.
You may be thinking whether you should clean out your cabinet at this point.
While a basic list of typical autoimmune diseases is provided below as a general guideline, please keep in mind that this may not always apply in reality. This is something that I and a few other practitioners have discovered.
When we perform lymphocyte panels on individuals, we discover some that don’t match up with the clinical literature’s classification of persons based on Th dominance. (In other words, the study indicates that they should be one thing, but we discover that they are not.)
There’s still a lot we don’t know about autoimmune diseases. If you recognize yourself on this list, don’t draw any inferences or self-diagnose; you may end up taking the incorrect vitamin and making things worse (i.e. a Th2 dominant MS patient who demyelinates themselves by taking green tea).
Always seek the advice of a trained professional.
Disorders of Th1 Dominance
Autoimmune disorders that affect particular organs (Possible benefit from green tea)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects people
- Crohn’s disease/IBD
- Kind 1 diabetes is a type of diabetes in which the body
- Graves disease, Hashimoto’s illness (thyroiditis)
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of arthritis that affects the joints.
- Peptic ulcers were caused by Helicobacter pylori.
Compounds that stimulate the Th1 response
- root of licorice
- ginseng panax
- the fungi (Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake)
- extract from grape seeds
Disorders of Th2 Dominance
Autoimmune disorders that affect the whole body (Possible harm from green tea)
- Sinusitis that lasts a long time
- There are many cancers.
- Hepatitis B and C are two types of hepatitis (mixed Th1 and Th2)
- Colitis ulcerative
- Infections caused by viruses
- Lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a kind of lupus that affects the whole body.
- Infections with helminths
Compounds that stimulate Th2
- Green tea
To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.
Guido Kroemer, François Hirsch, Ana González-Garca, and Carlos Martnez-A. Thl and Th2 Cytokines Play Different Roles in Autoimmune Diseases. 25-33 in Autoimmunity 24, no. 1 (1996).
The Concept of Type-1 and Type-2 Helper T Cells and Their Cytokines in Humans, by Gianfranco Del Prete. 427-455 in International Reviews of Immunology, vol. 16, no. 3 (1998).
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Green tea is known for its health benefits, but is it actually good for you? There are different kinds of green tea, but all of them share some common characteristics. These include: 1. They are all naturally occurring products. 2. They all contain some level of caffeine. 3. They are all made from the leaves of a specific species of plant, known as the Camellia sinensis plant.. Read more about green tea side effects on skin and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can green tea be harmful?
Green tea is not harmful, but it can cause side effects such as headaches and nausea.
Does green tea suppress immune system?
Green tea does not suppress the immune system.
Does green tea affect white blood cell count?
The answer to this question is unknown.