Green Tea Pumps the Brakes on Accelerated Aging by Amanda Williams, MPH
Amanda Williams holds a doctorate in medicine from Xavier University in Aruba, a Master’s degree in Public Health from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College Orchard Lake. Her background in disease state management allows for a unique nutritional approach to many of the most common health concerns. She has successfully completed training as an instructor in Diabetes Self-Management through Stanford University. To stay on top of the wellness world, she continues to obtain medical education credits through the American Academy of Anti-Aging. Amanda is currently the Director of Nutrition for InVite®’s Boca Raton store. Email Amanda Williams: AWilliams@invitehealth.com
Teas have been consumed for centuries throughout the world. We have all probably heard of the potential health benefits tea may provide for our bodies. In fact, a systematic analysis of green tea polyphenols showed that 15 separate polyphenols from green tea target 200 human genes. These targets were classified into six groups according to their related disease, which included cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, muscular disease, and inflammation. Green tea has been studied the most extensively of all of the teas. Many have come to realize the potent antioxidant capabilities that green tea offers. Of course it’s most famous polyphenol is EGCG.
What is EGCD?
EGCG, short for Epigallocatechin 3-Gallate, is the most potent of the green tea polyphenols, and has been the direct subject of the extensive research conducted on green tea. The interesting thing about EGCG is that it appears to affect a number of molecular processes, including induction of tumor cell apoptosis and inhibition of tumor growth, invasion, and angiogenesis, and research is under way to define the precise molecular processes affected. EGCG has an antioxidant activity about 25 and 100 times greater than that of vitamins E and C, respectively, and is the most potent of all the catechins.
What we do know is that arthritis affects close to 50 million people in the U.S. alone and it is expected to continue rising. We know currently the medical community focuses on NSAID’s (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and immunosuppressant’s such as Enbrel, to target RA and OA. What we also know is that EGCG from green tea has been studied extensively in terms of regulating the expression of cytokines, chemokines, reactive oxygen species, COX2 and prostaglandins. Hence, the inflammatory mediators in the body.
One of the most unique functions of EGCG in the body is that multiple studies have proven that EGCG is highly effective at “turning off” the HMGB1 switch that induces chronic inflammation. HMGB1 stands for “High Mobility Group Box-1”. HMGB1 turns on the release of chemical signals called cytokines that generate inflammation in your body. It releases inflammatory cytokines during an acute inflammatory response which is great. The problem is if and when there is cellular damage the HMGB1 will leak out of the cell and cause chronic inflammation, which is not a good thing at all. What we know is that HMGB1 is now looked at as one of the most powerful agents in accelerated aging or INFLAMMAGING.
Elevated HMGB1 levels have now been found to be associated with many acute and chronic inflammation-related disorders, including: asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and inflammatory bowel disorders. Two very recent studies from the Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, New York; University School of Medicine, New York; and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York, looked at the therapeutic role of targeting HMGB1 in sepsis. Sepsis and severe sepsis are leading causes of death in the United States and the most common cause of death among critically ill patients in non-coronary intensive care units. Sepsis occurs at an estimated rate of 300 cases per every 100,000 patients in the United States. It is remarkable that researchers are now looking outside of the box to find alternative therapies to target sepsis.
This is very exciting information as well as a breakthrough in scientific findings regarding EGCG from green tea and its profound benefits on our health. As we are becoming ever more aware of the direct connection between accelerated aging and chronic inflammation. We need to be cognizant of the nutrients available to us that help to keep us away from the pro- inflammatory state that drives up the likelihood of chronic disease.