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Monday 24th October 2016

Green tea 'good for diabetes'

2nd October 2007

Green tea - long prized for its life-lengthening properties in the traditional medicine systems of the Far East - contains a compound which could be just as effective in the management of diabetes as a top drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline, a study has found.


In a study led by Ake Sjoehold of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, mice suffering from different stages of diabetes were fed an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, and studied after five and 10 weeks.

A second group of the five-week-old rodents was given GSK's diabetes drug Avandia.

Moderately diabetic mice fed the antioxidant were found to have insulin and blood sugar levels comparable with those taking Avandia, also known as rosigliatazone.

However, the effect was not as marked in the groups of severely diabetic mice. Later tests showed EGCG had also protected pancreatic tissue, which showed it could prevent a worsening of the disease.

Sjoehold presented the team's findings in a written abstract at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Amsterdam.

While EGCG was less potent than rosiglitazone, it exerted changes that were similarly beneficial, he wrote. The study suggests that supplements of green tea extract might help prevent and treat diabetes in people.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that at least 240 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and predicts that number could reach 380 million in the next two decades.

EGCG has also been shown to prevent the inflammation which leads to rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea is made from the same plant as black, or 'Indian', tea, but from its unfermented leaves.


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