Green tea helps sleep apnoea?20th May 2008
Green tea, long used in traditional Chinese medicine, may be of help to sufferers of sleep apnoea, a breathing disorder that can affect overall health, new research has found.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) involves episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep, resulting in snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Compounds found in green tea may help ward off the neurological damage that can come with the disorder, according to a new study in rats.
When green tea antioxidants were added to rats' drinking water, they appeared to protect the animals' brains during bouts of oxygen deprivation.
According to a team of researchers led by David Gozal at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, green tea compounds should be further studied as a potential OSA therapy.
In a report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, they look at whether green tea compounds called catechin polyphenols could help shield the brain from this oxygen deprivation.
A regular cup of green tea could be beneficial, used alongside standard OSA treatment, according to Gozal, although definitive proof that green tea would help would be subject to trials in human patients.
In OSA, soft tissues in the throat temporarily collapse and block the airway during sleep, causing repeated stops and starts in breathing throughout the night, chronic loud snoring and gasping,
Another symptom is daytime sleepiness. The syndrome is linked to high blood pressure, and intermittent dips in oxygen to the brain, which recent research has suggested may lead to memory and learning difficulties.
Rats exposed to periodic bouts of oxygen deprivation over 14 days showed increased signs of oxidative stress in the brain. But a group given water containing green tea polyphenols appeared to be protected against this effect.
Catechin polyphenols help neutralize cell-damaging particles called oxygen free radicals, which are normal byproducts of metabolism, but which lead to oxidative stress in large amounts.
Oxidative stress may be linked to cognitive problems seen in people with sleep apnoea.
The green tea group also performed better on a standard test of learning and memory - a water "maze" designed to encourage the animals to remember the location of an escape platform.
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