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Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 00:02 GMT
Green tea could cut arthritis risk
Green tea
Green tea is thought to have many health benefits
Drinking green tea could help keep arthritis at bay, say scientists.

The tea, first discovered in China nearly 5,000 years ago, has long been thought to be beneficial to health.

It has been linked to preventing coronary heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

But now researchers in Sheffield have found that two compounds found in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatchin gallate) and ECG (epicatechin gallate) can help prevent osteoarthritis by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage.

Benefits

Dr David Buttle, of the University of Sheffield, said laboratory tests showed the benefits of regular green tea consumption.

"Green tea should be drunk as a prophylactic to prevent disease.

"If you have fairly severe joint damage it may be too late to do anything about it, but if you spend decades of your life drinking green tea in the end it may be beneficial."

Green tea should be drunk as a prophylactic to prevent disease

Dr David Buttle

He said that one of the compounds EGCG had been shown specifically to protect the cartilage.

"We have shown that EGCG protects cartilage destruction in test-tube models of cartilage loss that mimic what happens in the arthritic joint, and work by others suggests that EGCG reduces joint swelling and pain.

"We now need to do more tests. and then further work on human volunteers."

Research

Sheffield University, where Dr Buttle works, has now taken out a patent for the use of EGCG in treating osteoarthritis.

The Arthritis Research Campaign, which partly funded the research, said the initial results were promising.

A spokeswoman said: "Dr Buttle's findings are of great interest, and although further research needs to be done, in the mean time people should drink green tea as it's not going to do them any harm - and may in fact do them a lot of good."

See also:

09 Nov 02 | Health
26 Oct 02 | Health
21 Sep 02 | Health
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