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Matcha and Cancer Stem Cells: An Important Study from the University of Salford, UK

By Eric Gower Oct 17, 2018

Matcha and Cancer Stem Cells: An Important Study from the University of Salford, UK

As many of you know, a few years back we compiled a large (and growing) database of links to medical and clinical studies on the effects matcha and green tea have on human health.

The reason we built it is that no such database existed, as far as we could tell (if anyone can point me otherwise, I'd be very grateful), and it seemed like a useful thing to do for our customers and for the matcha and wellness communities in general.

There are roughly 1,200 entries, check it out when you get a chance.

The latest one we entered, today, is from the medical journal Aging, and it appears to indicate a major, major finding: that matcha green tea may have significant therapeutic potential for patients in various stages of cancer, by mediating the metabolic reprogramming of cancer stem cells.

One of the authors, Michael Lisanti, Professor of Medicine at the University of Salford, in the UK, had this this to say:

"Matcha green tea is a natural product used as a dietary supplement with great potential for a range of treatments. But, the molecular mechanism underpinning all that remains largely unknown. By using metabolic phenotyping, we found that the tea is suppressing oxidative mitochondrial metabolism - in other words it is preventing the cells from 're-fuelling' and therefore they become inactive and die."

This is huge.

Matcha suppresses oxidative mitochondrial metabolism. Cancer stem cells are essentially choked at the mitochondrial level, so they not only stop replicating, they just die off.

This finding, if repeatable in labs everywhere, may unlock one of the mysteries of how cancer cells actually spread or don't spread in our mitochondria, where energy production occurs.

Here's a link to the entire article -- it gets technical pretty quickly, but the abstract makes it pretty clear: matcha may have significant therapeutic potential in various cancer treatments. Current treatment strategies like radiation and chemo are typically associated with serious side effects.  A new, non-toxic treatment would be a cause for celebration for many cancer patients. 

Please pass this on to any oncologist who may be interested. This is obviously not medical advice of any kind.

Eric is the founder and chief matcha evangelist at Breakaway Matcha. He's also an author, ghostwriter, editor, cooking instructor, and private chef. For 16 years, he lived and worked in Japan, where he took deep dives into all things matcha, food, literature, arts, and culture. Eric is the author of three cookbooks: The Breakaway Cook, The breakaway Japanese Kitchen, and Eric's Kitchen. He lives and works in Marin County, CA.