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Green tea protects the liver from fibrosis and cirrhosis

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New findings show that green tea can protect the liver from fibrosis by reducing deposits of collagen fiber. Hepatic fibrosis eventually leads to cirrhosis of the liver. Researchers find that it is not just the antioxidant effect on the liver that is protective, but that green tea prevents collagen deposits from forming in the liver, leading to scarring and fibrosis and eventually cirrhosis of the liver.

Drugs, hepatitis, bacteria, alcohol, autoimmune diseases, and parasites can cause liver damage and fibrosis. The new research shows that green tea had a protective effect on the liver in a study of rats.

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The scientists examined the protective effects of green tea on the liver in lab samples of liver tissue in specially bred rats.

The researchers induced hepatic fibrosis in the rats, and examined tissue samples. They found that green tea protected the liver through “reduction of levels of collagen, lipid peroxidation, HSC proliferation, and type 1 collagen expression in the liver.” Rats given green tea powder did not develop hepatic fibrosis.

The authors write, “Green tea provides a safe and effective strategy for improving hepatic fibrosis.” Past studies have shown that green tea can protect the liver, but this is the first study to show that green tea can protect from liver fibrosis by reducing collagen fiber deposits that lead to scarring.

World J Gastroenterol 2009 November 7; 15(41): 5200-5205