Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

Benefits 

EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is the most ample catechin in tea and is a powerful antioxidant that may have therapeutic applications in the treatment of many disorders including cancer. It is found in green tea but not black tea.

Green tea is most popular in Japan and China, and is becoming more popular in the west. Selected reports indicate green tea may help prevent cancers of the skin, pancreas, lung, esophagus, stomach, colon, bladder, breast  and prostate.

Green tea contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. EGCG may help cause certain types of cancer cells to die like normal cells do. Typically cancer cells are different from normal cells in that they do not die when they should—they continue to grow and spread.

Herbalists use green tea for stomach problems, vomiting, and diarrhea, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blockages of the blood vessels that can lead to heart attacks. Green tea is also used to inhibit certain bacterial infections.

Cancer
There is increasing evidence to show that EGCG – along with other flavonoids – can be beneficial in treating brain, prostate, cervical and bladder cancers. EGCG has been shown to bind and inhibit the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xl, which has been implicated in both cancer cell and normal cell survival.

Green Tea Ingredient, EGCG, Significantly Inhibits Breast Cancer Growth In Female Mice.
Seven week old female mice were given EGCG (25 mg/50 ml) in drinking water for the period of five weeks (approximately 50-100 mg/kg/day.) The control mice got regular drinking water. In the second week of study mouse breast cancer cells were injected in the left fourth mammary glands of the mice. Tumor size was monitored by measuring the tumor cross section area (TCSA). Tumors were eventually isolated and measured for tumor weight, intratumoral microvessel (IM) density (using staining), and VEGF protein levels (using ELISA).

At the end of five weeks, researchers found that oral consumption of EGCG caused significant decreases in TCSA (66%), tumor weight (68%), IM density 155±6 vs.111±20 IM#mm^2) and VEGF protein levels (59.0±3.7 vs. 45.7±1.4 pg/mg) in the breast tumors vs. the control mice, respectively (N=8; P<0.01).  Further, VEGF plasma levels were lower in EGCG mice than in control mice (40.8±3.5 vs. 26.5±3.8 pg/ml P< 0.01). The study was conducted by Jian-Wei Gu, Emily Young, Jordan Covington, James Wes Johnson, and Wei Tan, all of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS.

Multiple Sclerosis
A 2007 study conducted by Dr. Orhan Aktas from Institute of Neuroimmunology, Berlin, revealed for the first time that green tea may one day help cure multiple sclerosis. Scientists identified molecules responsible for the inflammatory and the neurogenerative processes in MS. They are called EAE, or experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Green tea’s powerful antioxidant EGCG has been known to combat inflammation and boost immunity. Perhaps it may have something to do with EAE.

Dr Aktas quote:

“We have recently identified a flavonoid (EGCG) as such a candidate with promising effects in the treatment of EAE.”

“As its structure implicates additional antioxidative properties, EGCG is capable of directly protecting against neuronal injury in living brain tissue induced by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), and of directly blocking the formation of neurotoxic reactive oxygen species in neurons.”

“Moreover, EGCG also protected neuronal tissue against the detrimental death ligand TRAIL in vitro, indicating a direct protection of the target CNS tissue in the course of autoimmune neuroinflammation.”

“Thus, considering independent reports of the neuroprotective effects of polyphenols in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease or stroke, EGCG constituents may open up a new therapeutic avenue for treating MS by combining anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective capacities.”

Inflammation
EGCG is one of the major catechins in green tea. Data has shown that EGCG reduced disease severity in EAE by decreasing brain inflammation and demyelination damage, accompanied by decreased encephalitogenic T cell responses and reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.

 

Alzheimer´s Disease
EGCG has shown a neuroprotective effect in cell-experimental and animal studies. The neuroprotective mechanism of EGCG probably bases – besides the recognized antioxidant effect – midst others on the modulation of several signal transduction pathways, the impact on the expression of genes which regulate cell survival resp. programmed cell death, as well as the modulation of the mitochondrial function. In different Alzheimer models EGCG appears to cause an induction of alpha-secretase and the endothelin-converting-enzyme, as well as to prevent the aggregation of beta-amyloid to toxic oligomers through binding to the unfolded peptide.

The investigators therefore expect EGCG to have a positive influence on the course of the Alzheimer´s Disease.

 

 

greenteaPersonal summary:

Green tea tastes like paint thinner! But, if you add a little sugar and if strong, some cream it can become quite pleasant. Course, doing that probably reduces its benefits somewhat.
Apparently all Green Teas are not alike. After speaking with many venders of various Green Tea products, it seems the tea is not always what it may seem to be. As I sat sipping tea with an old Chinese woman in a Green Tea shop, she told me that most Green Tea on the market is very limited in EGCG potency. She prepared several pots of various Green Teas for me that day; talking about temperature and timing. Quite the art form. They did indeed taste very different from one another.

I will always be a proponent of getting antioxidants and the like from food sources rather than supplements. But you can’t just sit around drinking green tea all day! (Or can you?)

Of the various brands of EGCG supplements I’ve tried. I have not found one to be any more or less potent or safe than another. If you decide to try EGCG supplementation; I recommend trying several brands until one feels right.

 

 

 

 

 

Resources

a b http://chemicalland21.com/lifescience/foco/%28-%29-EPIGALLOCATECHIN%20GALLATE.htm

http://www.caymanchem.com/pdfs/70935.pdf

Lorenz, M., Urban, J. (January 2009) “Green and Black Tea are Equally Potent Stimuli of NO Production and Vasodilation: New Insights into Tea Ingredients Involved”. “Basic Research in Cardiology” “’104″ (1): 100-110.

Aktas O, Waiczies S, Zipp F (2007). Neurodegeneration in autoimmune demyelination: recent mechanistic insights reveal novel therapeutic targets.  J Neuroimmunol. 2007 Mar;184(1-2):17-26. Epub 2007 Jan 10. – See more at: http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/green-tea-and-multiple-sclerosis.html#sthash.kRqTLFBC.dpuf

2013 Jan 1;18:332-42. Novel immunoregulatory properties of EGCG on reducing inflammation in EAE.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23276926

Sunphenon EGCg (Epigallocatechin-Gallate) in the Early Stage of Alzheimer´s Disease (SUN-AK)
http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00951834

 

 

EGCG can be found in many supplements. cont…

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