According to Medical College of Georgia researchers, a powerful antioxidant in green tea may prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes.
Researchers were testing EGCG, green tea’s predominant antioxidant, in a laboratory mouse with type 1 diabetes and primary Sjogren’s syndrome, which damages moisture-producing glands, causing dry mouth and eyes.
“Our study focused on Sjogren’s syndrome, so learning that EGCG also can prevent and delay insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes was a big surprise,” says Dr. Stephen Hsu, molecular/cell biologist in the School of Dentistry.
They found it also worked well in their original disease focus. In the mouse, EGCG reduced the severity and delayed onset of salivary gland damage associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, which has no known cure.
“EGCG modulates several important genes, so it suppresses the abnormality at the molecular level in the salivary gland.
It also significantly lowered the serum autoantibodies, reducing the severity of Sjogren’s syndrome-like symptoms,” Dr. Hsu says. Autoantibodies are antibodies the body makes against itself.
Both type 1 diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome are autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack itself.
Researchers treated a control group of mice with water and a test group with a purified form of EGCG dissolved in the drinking water. At 16 weeks, the EGCG-fed mice were 6.1 times more likely to be diabetes-free than the water-fed group, and 4.2 times more likely at 22 weeks.
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