Green tea helps reduce the risk of disability in older individuals
Friday, February 3, 2012. A report published online on January 25, 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a lower risk of incident functional disability, such as that caused by cognitive impairment, osteoporosis and stroke, in association with increased green tea intake among older Japanese men and women.
"Epidemiologic studies have indicated that green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of osteoporosis, and randomized controlled trials have indicated that green tea is effective for cardiovascular risk factors," Yasutake Tomata of Tohoku University and colleagues write in their introduction to the article. "Because all of the above conditions are major causes of functional disability, it is expected that green tea consumption would contribute to disability prevention."
The researchers analyzed data from 13,988 Japanese men and women aged 65 and older who participated in the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 study. Questionnaires completed upon enrollment were analyzed for the frequency of green, oolong and black tea intake, as well as coffee. Over a three year follow-up period, incident functional disability was documented in 1,316 men and women.
For subjects who consumed one to two cups green tea per day, the risk of becoming disabled was 10 percent lower in comparison with those who reported drinking less than a cup per day. The probability of disability declined with greater green tea consumption to a 33 percent lower risk for those whose intake was five cups per day or more. Adjustment for numerous factors failed to significantly modify the association. No associations were determined for coffee, or oolong or black tea after adjusting for various factors.
The authors remark that previous studies have uncovered associations between green tea consumption and a lower risk of stroke, dementia, fracture and depression, all of which can contribute to disability. Green tea polyphenols have also been shown to improve leg strength, thereby reducing frailty, a major disability risk factor.
"To our knowledge, this is the first reported study to have proved the relation between green tea consumption and incident risk of functional disability," the authors announce. They recommend clinical trials to confirm the benefit suggested by the current study's findings.
The December, 2011 issue of the journal Hepatology describes research conducted by Drs Sandra Ciesek and Eike Steinmann of Hannover Medical School in Germany and their associates of a protective effect for epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a flavonoid that occurs in green tea, against entry of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) into the liver's cells. The discovery may be of particular relevance to liver transplant recipients with hepatitis who face reinfection of the new organ.
"Green tea catechins such as EGCG and its derivatives epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) have been shown to exhibit antiviral and antioncogenic properties," noted Dr Ciesek, who is affiliated with Hannover Medical School's Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology. "Our study further explores the potential effect these flavonoids have in preventing HCV reinfection following liver transplantation."
The researchers found that while EGCG had no effect on HCV RNA replication, the compound inhibited entry into cultured human liver cells as well as liver tumor cells. Although pretreatment of cells with EGCG before inoculation with HCV failed to reduce infection, applying it during inoculation resulted in significant inhibition. The team also demonstrated that the compound prevented the initial step in infection of a cell by HCV, known as viral attachment.
"The green tea antioxidant EGCG inhibits HCV cell entry by blocking viral attachment and may offer a new approach to prevent HCV infection, particularly reinfection following liver transplantation." Dr Ciesek concluded.
The aging process and certain health issues cause a reduction in the body's production of digestive enzymes. One effect of this reduction is a bloated feeling soon after eating a large meal. Digestive enzymes are essential to the body's absorption and full use of food. The primary digestive enzymes are protease (to digest protein), amylase (to digest carbohydrate), and lipase (to digest fat). These enzymes function as biological catalysts to speed the reactions that break down food. Raw foods also provide enzymes that naturally break down food for proper absorption. The capacity of the living organism to make enzymes diminishes with age.
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