Diabetes Helped by Green Tea, New Studies by Deborah Mitchell
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
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
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
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.
Finally, in a new study from China, a research team looked at
the effect of green tea polyphenols on fat deposits in rats fed a
high-fat diet. Since overweight,
obesity, and diet are critical factors in type 2 diabetes,
patients and experts alike are always interested in ways to better
manage these risk factors.
In the study, the rats were fed a high-fat diet and given three
different dosages of green tea polyphenols in their drinking water.
Over time, the scientists observed that the green tea polyphenols
reduced fat deposit and levels of adiponectin (a protein that has
an important role in glucose and lipid metabolism), as well as
other benefits important for diabetes.
Can drinking green tea and/or taking green tea supplements
improve your ability to prevent or manage diabetes and its
complications? So far there is a considerable body of evidence
suggesting green tea and its potent polyphenols have the potential
to help individuals who have diabetes and diabetes
risk factors, and these new studies add to the growing
van Dam RM et al. Dietary flavonoids and the development of type 2
diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: review of recent findings.
Current Opinions in Lipidology 2013 Feb; 24(1):
Silva KC et al. Green tea is neuroprotective in diabetic
retinopathy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual
Science 2013 Jan 8
Tian C et al. Green tea polyphenols reduced fat deposits in high
fat-fed rats via erk1/2-PPARy-adiponectin pathway. PLoS
One 2013; 8(1): e53796
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