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Health Benefits of Matcha (Cont'd)

Matcha Powder Has Antioxidant, Anti-Aging and Anti-Cancer Properties

This is Part 2 of our in-depth article on the health benefits of matcha green tea powder. Click here if you missed Part 1.

2. Matcha catechins have strong antioxidant and antiaging properties

According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Chromatography A, the amount of epigallocatechin gallate available from drinking matcha is 137 times higher than the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate available from China Green Tips green tea and at least three times greater than from other green teas1. Epigallocatechin gallate (also known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate or EGCG) belongs to a class of polyphenols called catechins. Like other catechins, epigallocatechin gallate is a powerful anti-oxidant2, and many of the health benefits of matcha powder can be attributed to the antioxidant properties of this health promoting substance.

Antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-aging effects of matcha green tea
Antioxidant properties of matcha are attributed to green tea catechins

Antioxidants are thought to disarm free radicals, reactive oxygen molecules that cause damage to the body by harming cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, the damage caused by these destructive molecules may result in a number of age-related diseases and other disorders including atherosclerosis, an impaired immune system, thrombosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, heart disease, and diabetes.

In addition to providing benefits related to the prevention of common diseases, the free radical scavenging activities of EGCG and matcha may offer beauty benefits by slowing down the formation of wrinkles triggered by an overdose of sunlight. When your body is exposed to sunlight, it produces enzymes called metalloproteinases which play a crucial role in repairing sun-damaged skin scaffolding. However, not all metalloproteinases are good for us. Some metalloproteinases degrade collagen fibers, and free radicals seem to stimulate the production of these damaging metalloproteinases. The damaging effects of these metalloproteinases accumulate over time, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Tip: Interested in learning more about preventing wrinkles and pre-mature aging of the skin through a nutritional approach? Check out our Top 9 Diet Tips for Fighting Wrinkles and our List of the Best Anti-Wrinkle Foods.

3. EGCG in matcha may offer anti-cancer benefits to some people

The antioxidant and other properties of EGCG in matcha powder may also provide protection against certain types of cancers. EGCG treatment has been shown to inhibit cell growth, trigger cell cycle arrest, and induce apoptosis (self-destruction) of several cancer cells, but not of normal cells3. Evidence suggests that EGCG may be able to reduce the risk of at least prostate4, cervical5, brain6 and bladder7 cancers.

People who already have cancer should, however, consult with their doctor before consuming matcha as EGCG has been shown to reduce bioavailability of certain anti-cancer drugs including bortezomib (marketed as Velcade) and sunitinib (marketed as Sutent). Also pregnant women should be aware that a high intake of polyphenolic compounds such as EGCG during pregnancy may elevate the risk of infant leukemia8 and that a high consumption of tea during pregnancy may increase the risk of childhood central nervous system tumors9.


1. Weiss DJ, Anderton CR (2003). Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A, 1011(1-2), 173-180
2. Matsuzaki T, Hara Y (1987). Antioxidative activity of tea leaf catechins. Journal of the Agricultural Chemical Society of Japan, 59(2), 129-134
3. Ahmad N, Gupta S, Mukhtar H (2000). Green Tea Polyphenol Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate Differentially Modulates Nuclear Factor KB in Cancer Cells versus Normal Cells. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 376(2), 338-346
4. Hsieh TC, Wu JM (2009). Targeting CWR22Rv1 prostate cancer cell proliferation and gene expression by combinations of the phytochemicals EGCG, genistein, and quercetin. Anticancer Research, 29(10), 4025-32
5. Qiao Y, Cao J, Xie L, Shi X (2009). Cell growth inhibition and gene expression regulation by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in human cervical cancer cells. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 32(9), 1309-15
6. Das A, Banik NL, Ray SK (2009). Flavonoids activated caspases for apoptosis in human glioblastoma T98G and U87MG cells but not in human normal astrocytes. Cancer, 116(1), 164-76
7. Philips BJ, Coyle CH, Morrisroe SN, et al (2009). Induction of apoptosis in human bladder cancer cells by green tea catechins. Biomedical Research, 30(4), 207-15
8. Paolini M, Sapone A, Valgimigli L (2003). Avoidance of bioflavonoid supplements during pregnancy: a pathway to infant leukemia?. Mutation Research, 527(1-2), 99-101
9. Plichart M, Menegaux F et al. (2008). Parental smoking, maternal alcohol, coffee and tea consumption during pregnancy and childhood malignant central nervous system tumours: the ESCALE study (SFCE). European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 17(4), 376-83