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Green tea can help prevent rheumatoid arthritis

Antioxidants in green tea may prevent and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study from CWRU's School of Medicine study recently published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

The study examined the effects of green tea polyphenols on collagen-induced arthritis in mice, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans. Polyphenols are chemicals that occur naturally in certain foods, including green tea, and many work as antioxidants to protect the body from oxidative stress that causes disease.

In each of three different study groups, the mice given the green tea polyphenols were significantly less likely to develop arthritis. Of the 18 mice that received the green tea, only eight (44 percent) developed arthritis. Among the 18 mice that did not receive the green tea, all but one (94 percent) developed arthritis. In addition, researchers noted that the eight arthritic mice that received the green tea polyphenols developed less severe forms of arthritis.

"For many generations, in some parts of the world -- including India, China and Japan -- green tea has been considered to possess health-promoting potential by preventing many illnesses that cause substantial mortality and morbidity in humans," said lead author Tariq M. Haqqi, associate professor of medicine at CWRU.

"Extensive laboratory research and the epidemiologic findings of the last 15 years have revealed that polyphenolic compounds present in green tea may prevent the onset and subsequent progression of a variety of illnesses. Perhaps now arthritis can be added to the list."

Tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. However, only 20 percent of the tea consumed worldwide is green tea. The remainder is black tea.

"Many polyphenols in green tea possess much more potent antioxidant activity than well-known antioxidants such as vita
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Contact: George Stamatis
gxs18@po.cwru.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
18-Jun-1999


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