The media won’t stop posting attention-grabbing headlines that contradict the actual findings of positive scientific studies. On November 4, 2010, a news source stated:1
From this headline you might infer that there was an initial benefit to testosterone replacement therapy that was not sustained.
The reality was that this six-month study showed that in frail elderly men with low testosterone levels, those who received testosterone gel had increased lean body mass, increased muscle strength and improved quality of life compared with a placebo.
These men were taken off testosterone for another six months and the beneficial effects were not maintained. The media attacked testosterone therapy because the benefits were not preserved six months AFTER testosterone therapy was discontinued.
That’s as absurd as implying that an anti-hypertensive drug’s effects are “short-lived” if six months after the drug is no longer taken blood pressure increases. Or that six months after a cholesterol medicine is stopped, LDL levels shoot back up.
Frailty often involves a reduction of muscle mass that results in loss of independence that culminates in premature death. Testosterone levels decline with aging, making it a critical hormone for aging men to consider restoring.
On October 27, 2010, a media headline stated:2
A number of studies associate green tea consumption with reduced breast cancer risk.
A recent Japanese study, however, found that green tea drinkers did not have lower incidences of breast cancer based on food frequency questionnaires.
As Life Extension has previously published, the polyphenols from green tea beverages are not optimally absorbed even though many epidemiological studies show benefits in those who drink green tea.
While there is nothing wrong with drinking green tea, in order to have enough EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and other polyphenols absorb into the bloodstream, they have to be taken as standardized extracts (which is what you obtain in high-quality supplements).
Here is an excerpt of what was published in the January 2007 issue of Life Extension Magazine® about this very topic:
Mainstream doctors often advocate obtaining nutrients from foods rather than supplements. A problem with certain nutrients, however, is that they are bound so tightly to food that less-than-optimal amounts of the active constituents are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Examples of nutrients that are better absorbed from supplements than from food include vitamin K, folic acid, and chlorophyll.3-5 Lycopene, on the other hand, may be better absorbed from cooked tomato products6 than from supplements.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists sought to determine whether the active ingredients in green tea were better absorbed from green tea extract capsules or by drinking green tea. Thirty healthy test subjects were recruited and given either a specially prepared green tea beverage standardized for green tea’s most active constituents (such as EGCG and ECG) or equally standardized green tea extract capsules.7
The results showed that subjects who received the green tea extract caps had a 60% greater increase in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and a 90% greater increase in ECG (epicatechin gallate) compared to those who drank the identical amounts of these green tea constituents in standardized beverage form. The antioxidant effects in those who swallowed the green tea caps were also greater than in the green tea drinkers.7
The scientists concluded that when administered in the form of a green tea supplement, the active constituents (polyphenols) showed enhanced bioavailability compared to when identical amounts of polyphenols were provided in a green tea beverage.7
One reason for conducting this study was previous findings that green tea polyphenols might be effective in preventing and treating cancer. By documenting that green tea extract supplements are superior to drinking green tea beverages, scientists now have a solid basis to test green tea extract capsules in human clinical studies.
Not All Green Tea Beverages Are the Same
The amount of polyphenols contained in green tea beverages varies considerably, depending on where the tea is harvested and how it is processed. One study examined 19 commercial brands of green tea and found significant variation in the content of the polyphenols EGCG and ECG. The scientists who conducted this study recommended that the labels of green tea bags state the amount of the polyphenols (EGCG and ECG) contained in each cup so that consumers know how many milligrams of these active ingredients they are consuming each day.8
This study that the media used to question the value of green tea tells us what we know already, i.e., drinking green tea alone may not be enough to obtain the needed disease preventing polyphenols that are standardized in most green tea supplements.
This Japanese study had a number of flaws that render its findings useless to those who follow a healthy lifestyle that includes green tea extracts. To review our detailed rebuttal of this study, click here.
Aging humans who rely on the media as a source for reliable health information are being dangerously misled.
The advantage Life Extension has is that we have been intimately involved with anti-aging medicine and disease prevention for the past four decades. The media chooses to rely on academic professors who often know little about a compound outside their own flawed study parameters.
If you have questions about a media headline that doesn’t quite make sense, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-544-4440.
For longer life,
1. Wu F, O’Connell M, Roberts S, et al. Do the effects of testosterone on muscle strength, physical function, body composition and quality of life persist six months post-treatment in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men. J Endocrinol. 2011 Feb. [Accepted for publication]
2. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20101027/green-tea-doesnt-prevent-breast-cancer-study-finds. Accessed October 27, 2010.
3. Garber AK, Binkley NC, Krueger DC, Suttie JW. Comparison of phylloquinone bioavailability from food sources or a supplement in human subjects. J Nutr. 1999 Jun;129(6):1201-3.
4. Berg MJ. The importance of folic acid. J Gend Specif Med. 1999 May-Jun;2(3):24-8.
5. Ferruzzi MG, Schwartz SJ. Thermal degradation of commercial grade sodium copper chlorophyllin. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7098-102.
6. van het Hof KH, de Boer BC, Tijburg LB, et al. Carotenoid bioavailability in humans from tomatoes processed in different ways determined from the carotenoid response in the triglyceride-rich lipoprotein fraction of plasma after a single consumption and in plasma after four days of consumption. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5):1189-96.
7. Henning SM, Niu Y, Lee NH, et al. Bioavailability and antioxidant activity of tea flavanols after consumption of green tea, black tea, or a green tea extract supplement. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1558-64.
8. Seeram NP, Henning SM, Niu Y, et al. Catechin and caffeine content of green tea dietary supplements and correlation with antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1599-603.