Green tea and immunity

Green tea and immunity

green teaFor most people the immune system quietly hums away keeping potential invaders at bay as well as acting as an internal cleaner of sorts and providing a kind of interior information super highway alongside the nervous system. At times though the immune system can get out of control and begin to attack the body itself. This happens because the immune system has somehow identified a part of the body as foreign and requiring expulsion. Conditions resulting are known as autoimmune diseases and they include rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and allergies. Now a new study has shown that green tea may help relieve these autoimmune conditions. Your immune system is made of many different cells, each with a different but largely interrelated role. The key to it all is attacking invading organisms without attacking your body’s own cells. There are some cells in your immune system that exist to turn off the immune system, including some known as “regulatory T cells”. The number and function of these regulatory T cells is controlled by other biochemicals.

In this new study researchers examined the action of a compound from green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that is thought to have both antiinflammatory and anti-cancer activities.

In this study the researchers found that EGCG caused an increased production of regulatory T cells. They believe that it is doing this not by altering DNA but by changing which gene codes are expressed and therefore which cells in the immune system are “turned on”.

Mice given EGCG show significantly increased numbers of regulatory T cells in the spleen and lymph nodes.

In conventional treatment of autoimmune conditions, drugs that will suppress the immune system are often used but they can have significant side-effects. While the effects of EGCG were not as potent as those drugs, there are few concerns about the long term use of EGCG or any toxicity. The researchers believe that these actions of EGCG make it, and green tea as a food, of probable benefit in autoimmune disorders.

Source: Immunology Letters

Woods carries a variety of organic macrobiotic green tea for your enjoyment:

Sencha green tea, toasted hojicha green tea, bancha twig tea, kukicha twig stem
tea, baby bancha tea.

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Woods Bangsar Tel: 03-22870959
Woods SS2: Tel: 03-79600260 E:

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