Green Tea and Liver Protection
As well as having a host of other health benefits, green tea can even be a way to help keep your liver healthy. And, in a society where a lot of us like a drink or two, finding a way to protect your liver is never a bad thing.
That’s right, drinking green tea can help to protect the liver from the effects of alcohol (on the assumption that the alcohol is consumed in moderation). A study by Zhang et al at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine looked at whether or not green tea could reduce the effects of alcohol-related liver injury in rats, with promising results .
They found that rats who were fed both alcohol and green tea had less liver damage than those that were fed alcohol alone, suggesting that drinking green tea could be used to help prevent liver damage.
Another study looking at the relation between green tea and liver protection was conducted by Imai and Nakachi at the Saitama Cancer Centre Research Institute in Japan . They wanted to see if green tea could help to prevent disorders of the liver by conducting a cross-sectional study of 1,371 Japanese men.
They looked at their diet and living habits, including consumption of green tea, and found that those who drank at over ten cups of green tea per day (Japanese cups are much smaller than in the UK, so think of it as being around 5-6 instead) had significantly lower levels of markers that indicated liver damage – in other words, drinking green tea results in fewer disorders of the liver, so it could be used for its preventative effects.
These are just two studies that show how green tea can help to protect the liver, and they both offer valuable insight into the beneficial properties that green tea has. But why does it have such an effect? Arguably, it’s because of the high antioxidant levels that it contains.
Antioxidants attack and destroy any free radicals found in our bodies preventing them from damaging healthy cells, which could explain how green tea can protect the liver. The antioxidants attack any harmful cells, and because they can induce apoptosis (cell death) in potentially dangerous or cancerous cells – in other words, the antioxidants can actually kill off harmful cells by inducing cell death – any damage to the liver is quickly resolved.
So, as well as being good for our overall health, green tea can even help to protect the liver from any damage or disorder. This is great news for people who like to have a drink, but remember that green tea only reduces liver damage, so don’t see it as a green light to drink as much alcohol as you wish! Nevertheless, green tea could be a great way to protect your liver from any damage, and drinking a few cups daily is definitely worthwhile.
Zhang XG, Xu P, Liu Q, Yu CH, Zhang Y, Chen SH, Li YM. Effect of tea polyphenol on cytokine gene expression in rats with alcoholic liver disease. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2006 May;5(2):268-72.
Imai K, Nakachi K. Cross sectional study of effects of drinking green tea on cardiovascular and liver diseases. BMJ. 1995 Mar 18;310(6981):693-6.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”