Green Tea and Liver Health

Jasmine Dragon Pearls
Jasmine Dragon Pearls

If you’re like me, you probably tend to take your liver for granted and might not be quite sure what it even does. Which is all well and good, until you start to have a problem with it. The good news here is that tea and its related compounds may be of some use in keeping our livers happy, healthy and functioning properly.

Take hepatitis, for example. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hepatitis C is “a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus.” It can range from mild to serious and in the latter case symptoms may not become apparent until damage has already been done to the liver. The CDC estimates that 3.2 million Americans are currently affected by the disease, with about 17,000 new cases reported in 2007.

A group of German researchers recently found that a component of green tea may be helpful in inhibiting the progress of Hepatitis C. That component is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been found to have a number of other health-related benefits. EGCG is the most abundant of a group of compounds in tea known as catechins. Though it’s found in abundance in green and other lightly processed teas the processing stage required to make black and related teas removes most of the EGCG content.

The research team noted that current therapies were found not to be effective in a significant percentage of cases and therefore stated that “antiviral strategies targeting the early stages of infection are urgently needed for the prevention of HCV infection.” Their conclusion, “the green tea molecule, EGCG, potently inhibits HCV [Hepatitis C virus] entry and could be part of an antiviral strategy aimed at the prevention of HCV reinfection after liver transplantation.” For more information about the study, look here.

Green tea has also been found to help with a condition called fatty liver disease, a malady that’s thought to affect as much as 25 percent of the population worldwide. For more information about tea and fatty liver disease refer to this earlier article. Last up, from a list of tea’s health benefits provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center, the good news that, among other things, “studies have shown that men who drink more than 10 cups of green tea per day are less likely to develop liver problems.”

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

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