Diabetes Helped by Green Tea, New Studies
Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions and can be a challenge to treat. Several new studies show how green tea may help patients better manage this disease and diabetic complications.
Green tea has compounds that help diabetes
Green tea is widely studied for a variety of health issues, and for good reason. Among its many helpful components are potent antioxidants called polyphenols, and a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is of special interest.
In fact, scientists are so interested in EGCG, there is currently a clinical trial underway that is exploring how the green tea component affects the body’s response to insulin. While that study is underway, others have been completed, and here are some of the findings.
In a new study from Brazil, researchers explored the ability of green tea to protect the retina in diabetic rats. This information is critical because diabetics are prone to developing diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that can result in blindness.
The researchers administered green tea to rats with diabetes and hypertension for 12 weeks. They discovered how treatment with green tea protected the retina against damage associated with glutamate (an amino acid) toxicity. Based on this finding, they noted they had found “a novel mechanism by which GT [green tea] protects the retina against neurodegeneration in disorders such as diabetic retinopathy.”
In a new study released in the February 2013 issue of Current Opinion in Lipidology, the multinational team of investigators reported on results from studies on plant components called flavonoids and the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Based on their analysis, they noted that “the strongest evidence exists for a beneficial effect of green tea” on bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL) levels and that “flavan-3-ols from green tea and cocoa may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.” They did stress, however, that more trials need to be conducted to confirm these findings.