Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Power of Green Tea Against AIDS Better Understood

This breakthrough adds an important piece of the puzzle of identifying exactly how one component of green tea already recognized as effective against AIDS can actually slow or thwart the destructive actions of this deadly immune disease; specifically, the ability of the virus to hijack and destroy immune system cells. Researchers from Houston and the United Kingdom report a significant breakthrough in understanding why green tea may be able to help fight AIDS.
This component of green tea Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCg is thought to be responsible for giving green tea its color and has demonstrated anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is also considerable optimism that green tea or EGCg could be useful against HIV however it is not being formerly recommended yet for AIDS prevention or treatment. Clinical trials are already underway to evaluate EGCg based cancer drugs.
For at least 10 years, researchers have known that EGCg can inhibit the progression of AIDS in laboratory experiments, but the exact mechanism for this has been unknown.
Their report is available online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Research by Baylor College of Medicine and University of Sheffield, UK reveals how EGCg can bind to the exact spot HIV needs to invade or infect a healthy T-cell, a type of white blood cell needed by the body to fight off infections.
But not if access is blocked by the EGCg molecule, leaving HIV with no other way inside the cell. The HIV appears to seek out this T-cell to invade and use it as a spawning ground for launching the next wave of attacking viruses. Researchers described using a relatively new approach involving nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to actually "see" this binding action.
They noted also that because the EGCg molecule is so small, it appeared that it could occupy the slot on the T-cell without adversely affecting its needed actions in the body.
However they cautioned this should not be construed that consumption of large amounts of green tea can prevent HIV infection. Researchers noted they could inhibit the progression of HIV in the laboratory using an amount of EGCg found in just two cups of green tea.
An EGCg type drug if developed would probably be one of a cocktail of drugs, researchers predict. Current HIV treatments consist of multiple drugs or a "cocktail" designed to block or interrupt the life cycle of this virus at different points. More research is needed in order to advance these observations on to drug development.
Kratz is a contributing editor to J.
which aired in Oklahoma and Texas. He also served as an associate producer for call in radio talk shows "Doctortalk" and "Second Opinion, Please" featuring alternative practitioner Howard Hagglund M.D. He has studied and written about various medical philosophies and systems including osteopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine.

He has come to recognize the connection between emotional or spiritual well-being and good health. He has interests in nutrition and the use of plant based medicines in supporting the body's natural healing abilities.


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