Green Tea and Arthritis
Green tea may have health benefits which include preventing arthritis. Study results reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that antioxidants found in green tea, known as polyphenols, may effectively reduce the incidence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
About The Study
The lead author of the green tea study was Dr. Tariq Haqqi of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Haqqi and his team of researchers used mice to study the effect of polyphenols in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease characterized by inflammation, pain, swelling, and joint destruction.
How The Study Was Conducted
The mice in the study were given either plain water or water enriched with green tea. The dosages given were comparable to human consumption of four cups of green tea per day. All the mice were then injected with collagen for the purpose of inducing arthritis. Collagen-induced arthritis is considered very similar to human rheumatoid arthritis.
The study results concluded that mice which were fed the green tea polyphenols were significantly less susceptible to developing collagen-induced arthritis than the mice not fed green tea polyphenols. For the mice fed green tea which did however develop arthritis, it occurred as late onset and mild. Only 8 out of 18 mice receiving green tea polyphenols developed arthritis, while 17 out of 18 mice not receiving green tea polyphenols developed arthritis.
Green Tea and Arthritis: Study Conclusion
Examination of joint tissue microscopically revealed marginal infiltration of joint cells in mice receiving the green tea in contrast with massive infiltration in the mice not fed green tea. The effect of the green tea appeared dramatic.
Point Of Interest
In many countries such as India, China, and Japan, green tea is regarded as healthful with the potential to prevent certain illnesses. Seemingly, rheumatoid arthritis in these countries exists at a much lower rate than elsewhere around the world and some people believe strongly in the effect of green tea.
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Source: Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 1999;96:4524-4529