Monday, June 1, 2009

Green Tea Fights Infection?

In findings presented to the 109th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology May 17-21, 2009, Dr. Megan Meyer found that doses of green tea helped cells significantly in their ability to fight Staphylococcus aureus infection, specifically in the microbicidal capabilities of macrophages.

The researchers formed their hypothesis after noting earlier findings that green tea may help inhibit the growth of bacteria and anthrax lethal factor and "[modulate] the production of reactive oxygen species by the immune system."

In conducting the experiment, Dr. Meyer and her team first subjected green tea to a process designed to mimic the effects of human digestion, then subjected RAW 264.7 cells to this material for 24 hours. They then exposed the cells to the Staph bacteria and studied how well the cells were able to fight infection.

At the end of the test period, cells with even the lowest concentration of green tea (the equivalent of one green tea pill daily--and I thought green tea was something you drink!) recorded a 32% reduction in the amount of surviving Staph bacteria as compared to non-green tea-exposed control cells. A concentration equivalent to two green tea pills daily recorded a 38% reduction in surviving Staph. Researchers suggest that these results occur because of the green tea and its polyphenols' effects on the "oxidative potential of the cells and through modulation of cytokine synthesis and secretion."

Although I wholly doubt that overdosing daily on green tea is all that beneficial, it seems that even small doses of green tea can have potentially exciting effects in helping boost the immune system in helping macrophages kill bacteria. "Some green tea each day keeps the doctor away"??


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