Green Tea Can Prevent Diabetes And Slows Down Sjogren’s Syndrome

It should be no surprise that tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, right after water.  Green tea in particular is known for its potential role in preventing cancer and heart disease.

Green tea contains polyphenol catechins, a type of antioxidant, which may help protect our body from free radical damage. Indeed, tea ranks as high as or higher than many fruits and vegetables in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC score, which measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.  These very powerful antioxidants seem to curb inflammation, prevent cell death, thus may even ward off cancer.

According to Reuters Health, EGCG, a compound found in green tea could slow or even prevent the development of type 1 diabetes and reduce the severity and delay the onset of salivary gland damage associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, suggests a recent study.

As many as four million Americans suffer from Sjogren’s ("SHOW-grins") syndrome, a chronic disease in which white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands. The typical symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but it is a systemic disease, affecting many organs and may cause fatigue. It is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders.

In recent study, Dr. Stephen D. Hsu of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and colleagues tested the effects of EGCG (green tea’s predominate antioxidant) in laboratory mice with type 1 diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome. Both conditions are autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack itself.

The results were astounding: EGCG reduced the severity and delayed the onset of salivary gland damage associated with Sjogren’s syndrome — a condition with no known cure.

Moreover, the mice that were fed with the EGCG water showed a significantly reduced development of type 1 diabetes. At 16 weeks, 25 percent of the mice given the green tea compound had developed diabetes, compared to 67 percent of the mice given water. At 22 weeks, 45 percent of the EGCG group had diabetes, while 78 percent of the control group did.

"Our study focused on Sjogren’s syndrome, so learning that EGCG also can prevent and delay insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes was a big surprise," Hsu said in a statement.

Hsu and his team also found that the salivary gland cells that were under autoimmune attack were actually multiplying, but EGCG slowed this proliferation. Such rapid cell division has also been shown to occur in psoriasis.

The current study supports much of the earlier research that shows EGCG’s impact on helping prevent autoimmune disease, the researchers conclude.

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