Green Tea Combats Rheumatoid Arthritis

FEBRUARY 17, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
rheumatology, pain management, rheumatoid arthritis, diet, green teaIn case you needed another healthy reason to brew a hot cup of green tea, researchers from Washington State University have found that it blocks rheumatoid arthritis activity.

Green tea has been tied to a slew of health benefits, such as lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol. But it turns out that a compound found in this particular variety of tea has anti-inflammatory properties that block effects of rheumatic disease.

“Existing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are expensive, immunosuppressive, and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use,” lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed, PhD, said in a news release. Green tea, on the other hand, is a cheap and easily accessible solution. The team analyzed the compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and it’s interaction with the transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), which plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis activity. It turns out that EGCG was able to inhibit kinase activity, according to the research in Arthritis & Rheumatology. The findings indicated that EGCG is able to block the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, all without interfering with other cellular functions.

“This study has opened the field of research into using EGCG for targeting TAK1 – an important signaling protein – through which proinflammatory cytokines transmit their signals to cause inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis,” Ahmed continued.

To confirm their study, the team assessed a pre-clinical animal model designed with human rheumatoid arthritis. When the animals were given EGCG in a 10-day treatment plan, there was a considerable amount of ankle swelling reduction.

So even though more studies need to be done before we put green tea on an even higher pedestal, it wouldn’t hurt to down a few extra cups of the stuff.

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