Alert Number 56
Date: November 11, 2004
We have discussed the role of EGCG, the polyphenol obtained from green tea, as a potential chemopreventive. In fact, EGCG is one of two components that will be used in our Project Alpha clinical trial, along with the monoclonal antibody Avastin. The role of EGCG in controlling angiogenesis, as well as blocking VEGF-receptor mediated proliferation of cancer cells has received a great deal of attention. I hope you will read the various articles we have on this interesting subject, including the series on our hypothetical CLL patient and 'Round-Headed Kid', Harvey, as he goes through the "RHK" protocol.
Many of you have written to ask for additional information regarding (1) the quality and (2) the quantity of EGCG you should use.
On the subject of quality, you can find literally hundreds if not thousands of sites on the Internet that will sell you green tea extracts. It is hard to judge their claims. The best advice I can give you is 'buyer beware' - make sure you do your homework and check things out pretty thoroughly. The other approach is to use a pharmaceutical grade product such as "Teavigo" marketed by Roche. A prior Topics Alert ( Number 40) gave you the link where it can be ordered. The website 'requires' that the person ordering their Teavigo be a doctor but it looks like 'naturopaths' qualify as well, so you might want to see if you can fast-talk your way through this low hurdle. I believe the Teavigo is sold as capsules, EGCG content in the range of 95%, the rest being other green tea catechins. The product has almost no caffeine, so you are not likely to get the jitters. EGCG does not require caffeine for it to be effective.
The question of how much EGCG to take is equally complicated and subject to using your own good judgment and commonsense. Below is an abstract where healthy volunteers were given escalating doses of 94% EGCG, ranging from a puny 50 milligrams to a hefty 1,600 milligrams. The researchers concluded that EGCG up to the maximum dose they studied, namely 1,600 milligrams, was safe and well tolerated.
We are not medical doctors. We are neither in the business of selling you stuff nor are we licensed to tell you how much EGCG you should take or how to take it. The best we can do is provide you with information that seems credible to us. Do notice that the researchers whose abstract is reproduced below were affiliated with Roche Vitamins Ltd. The commonsense thing to do is discuss this with your doctors. It also makes sense to start slow, see how your body tolerates the EGCG. Increasing the dose gradually is a smart way of going about it. I also urge you to keep track of your liver functions by means of regular CMET (comprehensive metabolic panel) blood tests - this is important whether or not you decide to try the EGCG.
J Int Med Res. 2003 Mar-Apr;31(2):88-101.
A single ascending dose study of epigallocatechin gallate in healthy volunteers.
Ullmann U, Haller J, Decourt JP, Girault N, Girault J, Richard-Caudron AS, Pineau B, Weber P.
Roche Vitamins Ltd, Human Nutrition and Health, Research and Development, Basel, Switzerland.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the safety, tolerability and plasma kinetic behaviour of single oral doses of 94% pure crystalline bulk epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) under fasting conditions in 60 healthy male volunteers. In each group of 10 subjects, eight received oral EGCG in single doses of 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, 400 mg, 800 mg or 1600 mg, and two received placebo. Blood samples were taken at intervals until 26 h later. The area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to infinity (AUC(0-infinity)), the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of EGCG, the time taken to reach the maximum concentration (Tmax), and the terminal elimination half-life (t1/2z) of EGCG were determined. Safety and tolerability were assessed. In each dosage group, the kinetic profile revealed rapid absorption with a one-peak plasma concentration versus time course, followed by a multiphasic decrease consisting of a distribution phase and an elimination phase. The mean AUC(0-infinity) of total EGCG varied between 442 and 10,368 ng.h/ml. The according mean Cmax values ranged from 130 to 3392 ng/ml and were observed after 1.3-2.2 h. The mean t1/2z values were seen between 1.9 and 4.6 h. Single oral doses of EGCG up to 1600 mg were safe and very well tolerated.
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