Green Tea and Arthritis
How EGCG Suppress Inflammation

Two green tea and arthritis studies found that drinking tea may prevent rheumatoid inflammation.



green tea and arthritis

EGCG, found in the highest concentration in green tea, works wonders with inflammation. A scan through the 2007 headlines shows what it is capable of:

 “Green tea is good for psoriasis and dandruff.”

“Green tea can treat inflammatory bladder disease.”

“Green tea clears up acne.”

And the latest: “Green tea shows arthritis promise.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body's immune system swings into action when there is no threat and starts attacking the joints and sometimes other parts of the body.

It is a common disease affecting about 1 in 100 people. The disease commonly starts between ages of 30 and 50. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected.

Scientists do not understand what triggers it. There is no known cure.

Mice Study

Green tea may reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, stated a green tea and arthritis study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

During the study, mice were injected with collagen to induce a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans.

Of those who drank tea, 44% became arthritic. Of those who didn’t drink tea, 94% became arthritic.

Furthermore, tea-treated mice suffered from a less severe form of the disease.

“This is the first study that has linked the beverage to arthritis,” said lead author Tariq Haqqi, associate professor of the Case Western Reserve University, located on the campus of the University of Michigan Medical School.

The green tea agent that is directly responsible for the halt of arthritic degeneration is called EGCG.

Inhibit IL-6 and Cox-2

The green tea and arthritis study was presented on April 29 at the Experimental Biology 2007 in Washington, D.C..

"Our research is a very promising step in the search for therapies for the joint destruction experienced by people who have rheumatoid arthritis," said lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed, Ph.D from the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan Health System.

To conduct the research, the scientists isolated cells called synovial fibroblasts from the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Fibroblasts are cells that form a lining of the tissue surrounding the capsule of the joints.

The researchers looked at whether the green tea compound EGCG has the capability to block the activity of two potent molecules, IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which also are actively involved in causing bone erosion in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis.

The scientists found that EGCG treated cells were capable of inhibiting the production of these molecules.

EGCG also inhibited the production of prostaglandin E2, a hormone-like substance that causes inflammation in the joints.

Conclusion

 “The results from this study suggest that EGCG may be a potential therapeutic value in regulating the joint destruction in RA,” said Salah-uddin Ahmed.

That is especially true since there is no cure for the affliction other than prevention. Those with the disease suffer from pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Many become disabled.

“The study suggests a preventive approach to rheumatoid arthritis, which, so far, is the only approach available.”

The two million Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers in the United States may want to add the lighter-colored tea to their shopping list.

References

Brenda Mchugh. Green Tea fights Rheumatoid Arthritis.
http://www.newsmax.com/health/green_tea_arthritis/2007/10/18/41878.html

News Release by University of Michigan Health System
http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/full_story.asp?StoryNumber=24288

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