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Saturday 26th May 2018

Green tea may prevent diabetes

10th November 2008

Green tea is already known to contain several antioxidants which can prevent disease. Now, a new study has found that one compound found in the beverage could slow or even prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.


Previous studies have shown that chemicals found in green tea can curb inflammation, prevent cell death, and possibly even ward off cancer.

A research team led by Stephen Hsu of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta tested the effects of green tea's predominate antioxidant known as EGCG in laboratory mice.

They found improvements in mice with type 1 diabetes and Sjogren's syndrome, which damages moisture-producing glands causing dry mouth and eyes.

Mice given water spiked with 0.2% EGCG showed a reduced severity and delayed onset of salivary gland damage associated with Sjogren's syndrome - a condition with no known cure.

The group receiving the EGCG were also much slower to develop type 1 diabetes. At 16 weeks, just 25% of the mice given the green tea compound had developed diabetes, compared to 67% of the group that had received only water.

By 22 weeks, 78% of the control group had developed diabetes, compared with just 45% of the EGCG group.

Hsu said the results were surprising to researchers, who had initially intended the study to focus on Sjogren's syndrome.

But he said it appeared that the EGCG compound had an effect on both diseases, which are autoimmune conditions in which the body's defences are turned on itself.

ECGC slowed the proliferation of salivary gland cells that were under autoimmune attack and also multiplying, in a manner similar to psoriasis.

Researchers, who published their findings in the joural Life Sciences, concluded that the current study supports earlier research showing EGCG's impact on helping prevent autoimmune disease.

Green tea has also been linked to a short-term beneficial effect on the large arteries, and to a reversal of endothelial dysfunction in smokers.

The antioxidants believed to be so beneficial in black tea are probably more potent in green tea because the tea leaves - long used as part of traditional Chinese medicine - have undergone no process of oxidisation.


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