Green Tea may prevent future cardiovascular events in smokers

July 31, 2006

A progenitor cell is a healthy parent cell that gives rise to highly specific cells. Endothelial progenitor cells are cells which create healthy cells that line blood vessel walls after an injury to blood vessel tissue. Smoking is a well known cause of injury to blood vessel walls. In this study it was found that smoking cigarettes causes dysfunction of the lining of blood vessels (this contributes to vascular damage and heightened blood pressure) and what's more the cigarettes decrease the number of available endothelial progenitor cells leading to an inability to repair damaged blood vessel walls (damage will pile on top of damage). At this point 20 young healthy smokers were given a Green Tea product high in catechins for two weeks. After 2 weeks it was found that the Green Tea Polyphenols caused a rapid increase in endothelial progenitor cells. The flow of blood significantly improved and blood vessel endothelial lining function improved. The blood vessels were once again able to dilate properly and all of this was related to restoring the numbers of available endothelial progenitor cells. This research shows that Green Tea can restore blood vessel activity and healing and may prevent a future with high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. The study was performed at The Heart Center, Chonnam National University Hospital, and is published in the August 2006 issue of Circulation Journal, official journal of the Japanese Circulation Society.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Studies show it is not the caffeine which helps decrease the risk of developing diabetes but probably the polyphenols.