The Chinese have known the healing power of green tea for generations. Many believe that the unprocessed tea leaves can help to prevent or even cure many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Volumes of scientific evidence now provide compelling proof that the active polyphenol found in green tea (EGCG) has the power to increase the number of regulatory immune support T-cells. T-cells play a crucial role in the suppression of autoimmune diseases including the terminal condition ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Research published in the journal Immunology Letters demonstrates that regular consumption of green tea can help your innate immune system to operate at peak efficiency to fight invading pathogens.
Green Tea Polyphenols Fight Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune diseases occur as the result of an imbalance in the immune system that results in the body mounting an attack against itself. Immune T-cells are critical in providing a defensive shield that can protect against cancer proliferation and a host of diseases where the body recognizes healthy cells and organs as foreign. T-cells also help to control systemic inflammation and can dampen the inappropriate response to normal cells seen in autoimmune conditions.
Scientists conducting this study found that EGCG found in green tea was responsible for a significantly higher number and frequency of regulatory T-cells found in the spleen and lymph nodes, helping to control the immune response. They found that EGCG did not directly affect the genetic DNA, but did influence gene expression that determines how the genetic material is switched on or off as a response to food consumption. Epigenetic regulation is a rapidly emerging science that explains the extensive health benefits seen with a natural diet.
EGCG From Green Tea Extinguishes Inflammatory Flames, Prevents Cancer Development
Emily Ho, associate professor and research author from the Oregon State University Department of Nutrition commented with reference to EGCG, “This appears to be a natural, plant-derived compound that can affect the number of regulatory T-cells, and in the process improve immune function.” Researchers found a dual role for green tea polyphenols include boosting T-cell production and fighting cellular inflammation. Both mechanisms are critical in fighting conditions exacerbated by chronic inflammation such as cancer and heart disease as well as autoimmune disorders.
Studies that involve regular consumption of naturally occurring foods and extracts are rapidly mounting to explain the importance of the foods we eat on our genetic health. Genes are expressed immediately following each meal and directly influence the progression of disease and the prevention of most chronic conditions.
Researchers conducting this study concluded, “Epigenetic regulation can be potentially exploited in generating suppressive regulatory T cells for therapeutic purposes, and is of significant clinical importance for the suppression of autoimmune diseases.” Although this study did not publish the dietary equivalent of green tea used to achieve their results, similar studies have recommended consuming 2 to 4 cups of green tea daily or 500 mg of a standardized EGCG extract for optimal health benefits.
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