24 Aug 2016 --- Drinking green tea could prevent a deadly condition in the body's main artery, according to research conducted at Kyoto University in Japan.
The team found that abdominal aortic aneurysm, a condition in which the main artery becomes overstretched and bloated, developed less frequently in rats that drank green tea polyphenol, a major component of green tea.
Due to the lack of symptoms, abdominal aortic aneurysms are often left undiagnosed, and without treatment, they eventually rupture and lead to death 50% of the time.
"Abdominal aortic aneurysms often go unnoticed because there are no symptoms until they burst," explained Kenji Minakata, an author of the study, "If a patient is lucky and bloating is found before rupture, it needs to be treated surgically, such as by transplanting an artificial blood vessel or inserting a stent graft. At the moment there are no pharmacological treatments."
The study saw the researchers treating rats with enzymes that induce abdominal aortic aneurysm, and found that the condition developed less in rats that drank green tea polyphenol. They also saw less inflammation and more elastin production, protecting the artery from rupture.
Commenting on what led to the study being conducted, lead author Shuji Setozak explained, "The type of polyphenol found in green tea has recently been shown to regenerate elastin, an essential protein that gives the artery its stretchy, yet study, texture," Setozak continued, "Considering that abdominal arterial aneurysms are caused by inflammation and the degradation of elastin components in the arterial wall, we thought drinking green tea may show promise for treatment."
This isn’t’ the first time green tea has been hailed for its health benefits. Recent research has suggested that drinking green tea can prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and increase oxidation.
Speaking with NutritionInsight, co-author Hidetoshi Masumoto said: "Green tea polyphenol is reported to possess various biological activities including anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. We are planning to further evaluate what kind of biological mechanisms led to beneficial effect on prevention of rat artery explosion in detail including molecular mechanisms."
He also added: "There are many other reports showing the benefits of green tea consumption on healthcare, for example, prevention of cancer or cardiovascular diseases, improvement of glycemic control, reduction of low-density lipoprotein choresterol and so on. I think it should be recommended to promote the beneficial effect of green tea by health organizations."
"Japanese people have the longest lifespan in the world, and studies show that 80% of the population drink green tea on a daily basis," says Masumoto, "We believe daily intake of green tea should be considered as a new preventative strategy for abdominal aortic aneurysm; the focus of future studies will be to investigate optimal doses."
by Hannah Gardiner
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