Green tea could help protect against the damage caused
by heart attacks and strokes, researchers suggest.
A chemical found in the tea, which has been drunk for
over 4,000 years, has been shown to reduce the amount
of cell death which follows such trauma.
Cell death leads to tissue death and even organ
Experts from the UK 's Institute of Child Health
carried out the study, published in the journal of the
Federation of Experimental Biology.
Green tea was frequently used in the past as fluid
supply for patients suffering from infectious diseases,
but recently researchers have begun to scientifically
determine the health benefits of green tea.
During a heart attack, the amount of oxygen and
nutrients reaching the brain and heart is reduced,
which leads to cell death and causes irreversible
The team of researchers, led by Dr Anastasis Stephanou,
carried out laboratory tests on heart cells which found
that a major chemical component of green tea known as
epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) can reduce cell death
after a heart attack or stroke.
It appears to block the action of a protein called Stat
1, which becomes activated within cells after a
stressful event such as a heart attack or stroke, and
plays a role in inducing cell death.
EGCG also appears to speed up the recovery of heart
cells. This allows the tissues to recover, alleviating
damage to the organs.
Molecular biologist Dr Anastasis Stephanou, who led the
research, said: "We're extremely encouraged by these
findings and hope to implement them in the clinical
setting to minimise cell death activation levels in
patients with acute coronary artery disease."
He said more research would have to be carried out
"But hopefully we will one day be able to tell patients
who are susceptible to heart disease that they can
drink green tea for its therapeutic benefits."
Belinda Linden, head of medical information at the
British Heart Foundation said: "Green tea has, in the
past, been associated with a reduced risk of coronary
artery disease, with claims that its high antioxidant
properties may cut the amount of cholesterol in the
"The results suggest that there may be other ways that
green tea could protect the heart, but larger
controlled studies would be needed to confirm this
Info from www.in-nature.com
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