A powerful antioxidant in green tea may prevent or delay the onset of type-1 diabetes, according to a study.
Researchers were testing EGCG, green tea's predominant anti-oxidant, on a lab mouse with type-1 diabetes and primary Sjogren's syndrome, which damages moisture-producing glands, causing dry mouth and eyes.
"Our study focused on Sjogren's syndrome, so learning that EGCG also can prevent and delay insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes was a big surprise," said Stephen Hsu, molecular cell biologist at the School of Dentistry, Medical College of Georgia (MCG). The study was published Friday in Life Sciences.
In the mouse, EGCG reduced the severity and delayed onset of salivary gland damage associated with Sjogren's syndrome, which has no known cure.
"EGCG modulates several important genes, so it suppresses the abnormality at the molecular level in the salivary gland. It also significantly lowered the serum auto-antibodies, reducing the severity of Sjogren's syndrome-like symptoms," Hsu said. Auto-antibodies are antibodies the body makes against itself.
Both type-1 diabetes and Sjogren's syndrome are autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack itself. Autoimmune disorders are the third most common group of diseases in US and affect about eight percent of the population, an MCG press release, quoting Hsu, said.