How does green tea affect heart health?
There have been statements for several years that the consumption of green tea has a positive effect on health. Researchers have now found that a substance in green tea appears to protect against heart attacks.
Scientists at the University of Lancaster and the University of Leeds found in their current study that consuming green tea could reduce the risk of heart attack. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Biological Chemistry".
What is EGCG?
A substance found in green tea could help medical professionals find new ways to reduce the risk of a heart attack. A molecule in green tea, known as EGCG, can bind to a protein that occurs in so-called plaques. These plaques are associated with coronary artery disease, the study authors explain. The discovery could open up new opportunities for the development of molecules to combat deposits in blood vessels that contribute to what is known as coronary artery disease, the scientists hope. However, it is by no means clear whether drinking green tea can help with the disease.
EGCG is to be optimized
If people drink normal amounts of green tea, it is unlikely to have any particular effect, says study author Professor David Middleton from the University of Lancaster. The EGCG molecule must now be examined more carefully in order to modify or adapt it so that it can better reach the plaques. It has previously been shown that EGCG affects the architecture of proteins that form plaques associated with Alzheimer's. In the current study, the scientists researched the effect of green tea on ApoA-I. This protein is a key component of what is known as HDL's healthy cholesterol.
Broken plaques increase the risk of stroke
ApoA-I can, under certain circumstances, form fine fibers that collect in plaques within the arteries. The addition of these fibers increases the likelihood of the plaques breaking into pieces, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, says Professor Middleton. EGCG appeared to break the fine fibers of the protein into smaller, circular shapes that were soluble under certain circumstances.
How can the risk of coronary artery disease be reduced?
A balanced, non-smoking diet and other aspects of lifestyle are key ways that reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in humans. However, the effect remains unclear when consuming green tea. The body breaks down the components of green tea and it is not clear how much EGCG really gets into the blood, critics of the current study say. (as)