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Green Tea Found to Protect You From Autoimmune Diseases

According to researchers, green tea may help protect against autoimmune disease.

A study of animal models for type 1 diabetes and primary Sjogren's Syndrome, which damages the glands that produce tears and saliva, found that there was significantly less salivary gland damage in a group treated with green tea extract.

This suggests that green tea can reduce the Sjogren's symptom commonly called dry mouth.

Researchers looked for inflammation and the number of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells that gather at inflammation sites. The group treated with green tea had fewer lymphocytes, and their blood also showed lower levels of autoantibodies, which are produced when the immune system attacks itself.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea, is known to help suppress inflammation. EGCG may activate the body's defense against TNF-alpha, a group of proteins and molecules involved in systemic inflammation.

Approximately 30 percent of elderly Americans suffer from dry mouth, but in China, where green tea is widely consumed, only 5 percent of the elderly suffer from the problem.

Autoimmunity, Vol. 40, No. 2, March 2007: 138-147

Medical College of Georgia April 18, 2007

Science Daily April 20, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

The powerful chemicals contained in green tea can fight a host of diseases including AIDS, Alzheimer's and, perhaps, autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's Syndrome. Scientists believe the discovery described above could open the door to further research on green tea's protective powers in relation to other autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

When selecting the right green tea for your health, remember to do your homework and be sure the kind you drink isn't high in fluoride.

Bearing that in mind, the healthy polyphenols in green tea may constitute up to 30 percent of the dry leaf weight. So, when you drink a cup of tea, you're basically drinking a solution of tea polyphenols. In fresh, unfermented tea leaves, polyphenols exist as a series of chemicals called catechins, of which epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful.

Widely acclaimed for disease prevention and anti-aging purposes, catechins have been studied for centuries for their potential ability to:

  • Neutralize the effects to your body of harmful fats and oils
  • Inhibit bacteria and viruses such as HIV, hepatitis, and herpes
  • Improve digestion
  • Protect against oxidation in your brain and liver
  • Help promote healthy gums

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