The benefits of green tea have been known for hundreds of years, with it having been used medicinally in China and Japan for centuries. Here in the West we’re only just starting to understand the many benefits that green tea has, and scientists are now discovering that it can be more beneficial than we ever thought possible.
Just one of the areas that it can have a positive impact is in relation to arthritis, and with so many people suffering from the condition it would be well worthwhile investigating. As such, several studies have been conducted to look into it, and a lot of them are coming up with positive results.
In 2005, a study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that seemed to indicate that green tea can significantly reduce the severity and overall incidence of rheumatoid arthritis and also offered insight into why this might be the case.
The study used mice that had been injected with collagen to induce arthritis, with collagen-induced arthritis in mice being similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans. Half of the mice were fed plain water whilst the rest had water enriched with green tea, and it was then left to see which mice would develop arthritis.
The findings were marked. The mice that were fed the green tea-enriched water were significantly less likely to develop arthritis than those who had no green tea, with only 44% (or 8 out of 18) of the green tea group developing the condition compared to 94% (17 out of 18) getting it in the non-green tea group. Researchers also noted that the 8 mice that did develop arthritis in the green tea group had much less severe forms than the others, and the onset of the condition was also a lot later.
This seems to indicate that green tea really can have a significant effect on the incidence and severity of arthritis in mice, and given that their condition is particularly similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans it wouldn’t be so hard to consider the possibility that the same results would be true in human subjects as well.
But why does green tea have such an effect? The researchers looked into this question as well, and focused their investigation on the antioxidants contained in green tea, with results indicating that it’s these antioxidants that protect the joints.
However, researchers at Sheffield University have taken this one step further. They found that two of the most powerful antioxidants found in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), actually blocked the enzyme that’s known to cause cartilage breakdown, thus protecting the joints from the onset of arthritis. Other studies suggest that these antioxidants can significantly reduce joint pain and swelling, so drinking green tea could be beneficial in treating the condition as well as preventing it.
So, green tea really does seem to have a protective capacity when it comes to the onset of arthritis. Drinking green tea can protect the joints and can prevent damage to cartilage, and this in turn can reduce the likelihood of developing the condition. More studies need to be conducted on human subjects to confirm the findings, but so far the research seems to be conclusive – drink green tea and help to prevent the onset of arthritis.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”