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Green Tea May Battle Rheumatoid Arthritis
What the Study Showed
In this 1999 animal study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that polyphenols, the antioxidants found in green tea, reduced the likelihood of developing a type of arthritis similar to human rheumatoid arthritis.

How It Was Done
Mice were fed either water containing green tea polyphenols (equivalent to a human drinking 4 cups a day) or plain water. Ten days later, the animals were injected with a substance that induced an inflammatory arthritis similar to human rheumatoid arthritis. Two groups of animals were observed for up to 40 days; a third group was observed for more than 85 days.

Why It's Important
When the joint tissues were examined, researchers found significantly fewer immune cells and/or inflammatory chemicals had infiltrated in the polyphenol group. These cells and chemicals are typically found in the inflamed joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Previous studies have also demonstrated that green tea polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties.

Additional Findings
Not only was the polyphenol group less likely to develop arthritis but, in those who did develop the condition, the disease occurred later and was milder than that which occurred in the water-drinking group. Of 18 animals drinking polyphenols only eight developed arthritis, compared with 17 of 18 mice in the control group. According to the investigators: "Based on our data, it is tempting to suggest that green tea in general, and the polyphenols present therein in particular, may prove to be a useful supplement/addition with other agents for the treatment of arthritis."

Source: Haqqi TM, Anthony DD, Gupta S, et al. Prevention of collagen-induced arthritis in mice by a polyphenolic fraction from green tea. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1999 Apr 13;96(8):4524-9.


Date Published: 08/31/2002
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