Boost Immune Function with Green Tea?

Izu Matcha Japanese Green Tea
Izu Matcha Japanese Green Tea

Oh, the many and varied wonders of tea. Not only does it taste good, but there are a boatload of studies that indicate that it probably is quite good for us. Which is great news, even for those of us who primarily drink it for the taste. The studies on tea and health keep on coming and, not surprisingly, many of them deal specifically with green tea, one of the least processed types.

One of the most recent studies was conducted by researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the University of Connecticut, and Changwon National University in South Korea. One of their key findings was that a beneficial compound found primarily in green tea has a tendency to increase the number of regulatory T cells that assist in strengthening immune function and suppressing autoimmune disease. “When fully understood,” according to Emily Ho, one of the principal investigators, “This could provide an easy and safe way to help control autoimmune problems and address various diseases.”

Researchers pointed out that while there are already pharmaceutical drugs that perform many of these same functions, a product derived from the likes of green tea or some other natural product is likely to be more desirable because of lessened concerns about toxicity.

The study zeroed in on epigallocatechin gallate, also known as EGCG, as the ingredient in green tea that that has the ability to increase the production of regulatory T cells. While this effect is not nearly as pronounced as it is with pharmaceutical drugs, the trade-off, as already noted, is the relative lack of toxic side effects with EGCG and green tea. EGCG is a polyphenol that is found primarily in less processed varieties such as green tea, as well as certain other plants. It is one of the compounds that’s frequently cited as contributing to tea’s various health benefits.

For more details on this study, look here.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please consult your physician to see if drinking tea may be beneficial to you.

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