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Green Tea and Artherosclerosis

Green tea has numerous health benefits, with studies in recent years showing the far-ranging effects that it can have. Just one of the areas in which is can be beneficial is in relation to artherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to a build up of plaque in the arteries, and scientists are now suggesting that green tea can be a great way to prevent its occurrence. With heart and cholesterol-related conditions on the rise anything that can be done to prevent it would be well worth considering.

Studies are continuing to confirm the effectiveness of green tea in relation to this area, with one such study having been conducted by Osada et al at Hirosaki University. In the study, researchers looked at how the antioxidants in green tea affected the oxidization of LDL cholesterol, using rats as test subjects (oxidized cholesterol is a primary cause of atherosclerosis as it becomes sticky and clings to the walls of the arteries, leading to the condition).

They found that a lot of the antioxidants contained in green tea, primarily epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), drastically inhibited the occurrence of oxidized cholesterol. This suggests that drinking green tea can be a great way to prevent the incidence of oxidized cholesterol and the condition of atherosclerosis itself. If there is no oxidised cholesterol in the bloodstream it can’t build up in artery walls.

A similar study confirmed the findings, this time using human subjects to give us a better understanding of the effects of green tea. The study, conducted by Inami et al , took 40 participants and divided them into two groups. The first was a catechin group, where participants were given 500mg of green tea catechins (or antioxidants – the equivalent of 6/7 cups of green tea) daily, and the second was a control group. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and 4 weeks later to evaluate levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood.

The findings were again promising. In the catechin group it was found that oxidized LDL cholesterol was significantly reduced after the administration of antioxidants, indicating the beneficial effects that green tea could have in relation to this condition.

Both of these studies indicate that consumption of green tea can be a great way to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis through its cholesterol-lowering effects. Both studies also indicate that green tea’s effectiveness is due to the high levels of antioxidants contained within it. Further studies continue to be undertaken to confirm its benefits but current data indicates that green tea can be a way to inhibit the development of atherosclerosis.

Osada K, Takahashi M, Hoshina S, Nakamura M, Nakamura S, Sugano M. Tea catechins inhibit cholesterol oxidation accompanying oxidation of low density lipoprotein in vitro. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2001 Feb;128(2):153-64.
Inami S, Takano M, Yamamoto M, Murakami D, Tajika K, Yodogawa K, Yokoyama S, Ohno N, Ohba T, Sano J, Ibuki C, Seino Y, Mizuno K. Tea catechin consumption reduces circulating oxidized low-density lipoprotein. Int Heart J. 2007 Nov;48(6):725-32.

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