Green tea wards off rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology on Feb. 16. Green tea contains an anti-inflammatory phytochemical called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which blocks the symptoms of the disease without compromising other cellular functions.
The researchers at the Washington State University in Spokane observed that the ankle swelling decreased in animals that were given with EGCG for 10 days. They claim that this could pave the way to developing a new strategy to preventing the inflammation, joint pain and tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Lead researcher Salah-uddin Ahmed, who has been studying rheumatoid arthritis for the last 15 years, says that the phytochemical can be used to target TAK1, a protein through which proinflammatory cytokines cause the inflammation and tissue destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Apparently, current drugs to the disease is expensive and unsuitable for prolonged use. These drugs also harm the body’s healthy immune response.
Ahmed, who has been studying rheumatoid arthritis for the last 15 years, notes that rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating autoimmune disorder that mostly affects the small joints of the hands and feet. It causes painful swelling that progresses into cartilage damage, bone erosion and joint deformity.
The Arthritis Foundation states that rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. The symptoms include joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness for six weeks or longer and morning stiffness that lasts for half an hour or longer.
There are 1.5 million people in the US that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Women are more likely to suffer from this condition than men. Rheumatoid arthritis usually occurs between the age of 30 and 60 in women. Having a family history of the disease increases the chances of developing the illness. However, many people still suffer from this despite not having a familial history.