Green tea is reported to be the second most popular drink in the world (water is first) with more health benefits than any other beverage. It has been considered a disease prevention therapy in China for at least 4,000 years. In fact, the ancient Chinese proverb says “Better to be deprived of food for three days than green tea for one.”
Some of the health benefits associated with green tea include lowering the risk for cancer, heart disease, elevated cholesterol, excessive weight gain, diabetes, and stroke, as well as staving off dementia and possibly dry eyes.
It’s hard not to gush about green tea.
Green tea’s health-promoting action is due to its rich content of antioxidant compounds such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechins. Catechins scavenge for free radicals that damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis. A Chinese study suggests that EGCG is able to protect retinal ganglion cells against oxidative-stress injury and may be used as a potential neuroprotective drug.
Other benefits ascribed to EGCG include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, supporting cardiovascular health, protection against UVB radiation, and inhibition of cell membrane damage (more effectively than vitamins E or C), insulin-mimicking action, bone-building, and increased 24-hour thermogenesis (fat burning) in humans.
Green tea extracts have been shown to have more health benefits than an equal volume of black tea in terms of antioxidant capacity. Green tea has 165 mg of total phenol equivalents compared to black tea’s 124 mg.
Green tea extracts have more catechins than black tea’s. This is mainly due to its EGCG content, which has been shown to prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation and the lowering of LDL levels. This may help to explain the often-discussed Japanese paradox: the heart health of Japanese men remains fairly high, even though, sadly, approximately 75 percent of them are still smokers.
The National Library of Medicine now includes more than 800 articles on the health benefits of green tea catechins including a study published in 2011 in Molecular Vision that suggests a dose-dependent reduction in hyperosmolarity when corneal epithelial cells were treated with EGCG.
Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff
PEARL: Tear chemistry never ceases to intrigue us. A study published in the May 2012 issue of Ophthalmology found that consumed alcohol is secreted into tears and induces hyperosmolarity, shortens tear breakup time, and triggers the development of ocular surface disease. This helps explain the vast differences seen in tear breakup times, which are too frequently linked to and treated as, meibomian gland dysfunction. Better to drink green tea than beer, wine or vodka if you suffer dry eyes.
Biosyntrx BioTears and Macula Complete both include 100 mg of green tea leaf extract per daily dose.
References for this article plus an instrument announcement from our friends at Crestpoint Management can be found following today’s Pearl.
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