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Ready for a new challenge? Green Tea and MS


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Tea drinking is one of life’s simplest and most cherished pleasures. Tea drinking forms an integral part of Asian, European and other cultures throughout the world, in some cases it’s elevated to a high art. Green tea, made from the unfermented leaves of the tea plant, was recognized for its health benefits in ancient China. Some scientific studies have produced evidence supporting the use of green tea in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.




Antioxidants

Polyphenol antioxidants in green tea extract improve multiple sclerosis symptoms by inhibiting certain enzymes that promote the disease, according to a study published in the March 2011 issue of the journal “Neurochemical Research.” In the tissue culture study, nerve cells exposed to green tea extract showed lower levels of tissue-degrading matrix metalloproteinase enzymes. Researchers concluded that green tea and other foods high in polyphenol antioxidants may be a powerful tool in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Anti-Inflammatory

Japanese researchers reported that green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful in preventing and treating chronic inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Green tea inhibits a compound known as tissue necrosis factor, which promotes tumor formation and inflammation. In the study on laboratory animals, four months of green tea supplementation inhibited tissue necrosis factor and interleukin, another pro-inflammatory molecule. The study was published in the April 2001 issue of the “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.”

Nerve Damage

Researchers at the Institute of Neuroimmunology of the Neuroscience Research Center in Berlin, Germany found that the green tea compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate, EGCG, suppressed a laboratory animal form of multiple sclerosis. In the study, EGCG reduced symptoms dramatically when given at or after the onset of symptoms. EGCG also protected against nerve damage in the brain. Researchers concluded that green tea may offer a viable natural option for treating and preventing multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory brain diseases by exerting both anti-inflammatory and nerve-protective benefits.

Caffeine

Caffeine in green tea may improve multiple sclerosis symptoms, according to Allen C. Bowling, Ph.D., author of the book “Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis.” Caffeine counteracts fatigue and improves mental alertness. Caffeine also inhibits the activity of white blood cells and alters the activity of certain brain receptors that may prove to be beneficial for multiple sclerosis.

Suppressive Effects

Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate offers suppressive and protective effects against multiple sclerosis, according to Robert Luebke, editor of the book “Immunotoxicology and Immunopharmacology.” Polyphenol antioxidants in green tea inhibit the pro-inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, as well as interferon and tissue necrosis factor. In animals, green tea extract inhibits relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.




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