Bioactive components of tea: Cancer, inflammation and behavior

Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, Marco Vinicio Ramirez-Mares, Sirima Puangpraphant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide. Several studies have suggested that catechins and theaflavins found in tea may reduce the risk of various types of cancers. Major advances have been made to understand the molecular events leading to cancer prevention; however, the evidence is not conclusive. Evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies also suggests that persistent inflammation can progress to cancer. Several possible mechanisms of action may explain the cancer preventive aspects of tea components specifically anti-inflammatory effects. In regards to brain health, green tea catechins have been recognized as multifunctional compounds for neuroprotection with beneficial effects on vascular function and mental performance. Theanine, a unique amino acid in tea, enhances cognition in humans and has neuroprotective effects. Human interventional studies with well characterized tea products are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-731
Number of pages11
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Anti-inflammation
  • Behavior
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Cancer prevention
  • Mood
  • Neuroprotection
  • Polyphenols
  • Teas
  • Theanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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