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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Green Tea, Cancer, and the Inflammation and Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis

A long while back, I came across some interesting information on green tea and cancer. Green tea contains a compound called EGCG. Wikipedia defines this acronym as "Epigallocatechin gallate...a type of catechin...the most abundant catechin in tea". The WP--my shorthand for wikipedia--also states that EGCG is a) an antioxidant and a catechin, b) being studied for multiple sclerois, c) protects the skin from uv-radiation damage and tumor formation and d) may have some benefit in the treatment of HIV.

When I first learned about EGCG, I was astonished to read that EGCG prevents cancer cell growth by inhibiting the enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase. However, I've just come across some additional interesting news regarding EGCG. According to Professor Stephen Hsu at the Medical College of Georgia, green tea may offer protection against certain autoimmune conditions such as sjogren's syndrome and lupus. Autoimmune disorders tend to involve inflammation and EGCG has been shown to block the production of prostaglandin E2, a compound that causes joint inflammation.

Of course, whenever I think of autoimmune disorders and inflammation, I think of rheumatoid arthritis (in addition to pemphigus, a terrible autoimmune condition that eventually and recently took the life of my dog, Scout, a chow/lab mix with the best disposition I've ever seen in a dog). Well, this is where EGCG really gets interesting. Two molecules which are known to break down bone in a joint afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis--IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2)--are suppressed by EGCG. Actually, the wording expressed by lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed at Ann Arbor (Univ. of Michigan) was that EGCG "blocked them significantly".

Green tea has about five times more EGCG than regular tea, which isn't a bad thing since (for no reason other than the fact that I enjoy the taste), I drink it daily.

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At July 15, 2008 2:29 AM , Anonymous Czes Kulvis said...

I like green tea. I drink it almost daily.

I have autoimmune condition (Multiple Sclerosis) too.

But why? Do I need more green tea? Is the only cause of autoimmune diseases lack of green tea?



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