Nicotine is a primary derivative of the tobacco plant, and it is classified as an alkaloid, as it contains stimulating properties. Nicotine is the primary compound responsible for the addictive quality of tobacco, as nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine. While your body naturally reduces nicotine by half every two hours, consuming certain supplements may help to promote the release of nicotine from your system. Even though green tea is touted as having detoxification properties, no scientific evidence exists to support claims that it rids your body of nicotine. Because nicotine can exasperate the effects of caffeine, discuss the use of green tea with your physician.
Scientists believe the primary active compounds in green tea are polyphenols known as catechins. Researchers have isolated six primary catechins. While each catechin has some sort of effect in your body, initial studies suggest the compound apigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is the most active in the human body. Catechins are known to have antioxidant properties greater than vitamin C. Thus, the health benefits of green tea may be largely attributed to its high antioxidant concentration. Other active constituents in green tea include alkaloids such as theophylline, theobromine and caffeine.
Proponents of green tea suggest its high antioxidant concentration can help detoxify your body of toxins. Whether or not the polyphenol catechins in green tea actually expedite the release of nicotine in your body is under debate within the scientific community. While green tea has not been proved to get rid of nicotine, it can support the eradication of free radicals. Free radicals are atoms with one or more unpaired electrons, which result in erratic behavior that can cause damage on the DNA level. These rogue atoms are created naturally. However, smoking dramatically increases the number of free radicals, which may increase your chance of developing a serious illness or condition. Although green tea's capability of eliminating nicotine are inconclusive, its ability to decrease the formation and damage of free radicals may be beneficial for smokers and ex-smokers.
While there is no official dosage of green tea for detoxification purposes, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests consuming two to three cups of green tea per day to introduce 240 mg to 320 mg of polyphenols into your system. If you wish to avoid making tea, you can consume 100 mg to 750 mg of green tea extract capsules or tablets per day.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, consider taking decaffeinated green tea products to prevent unwanted side effects. While green tea is generally considered safe for healthy adults if you have a kidney disorder, heart problems, stomach ulcers or anxiety, do not consume green tea, as it may cause adverse reactions. Furthermore, if you're taking medications such as antibiotics, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers or blood thinners, do not consume green tea without the direct consent of your doctor.
- WhyQuit.com: Nicotine Addiction 101
- GalaxyGoo; What is Nicotine?; Phyllis Pugh, Ph.D.; 2002
- DrLam; Detoxification Tea; Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Green Tea; David Zieve, et al.; September 2010
- Office of Dietary Supplements; New Insights into the Mechanism of Action of Antioxidants; J.A. Milner
- Society of Free Radical Biology and Medicine; What Are Free Radicals?; Garry R. Buettner, Ph.D.; November 2009