Particular antioxidants powerfully protect the lungs even against chemical warfare agents

October 31, 2005

Mustard gas is a chemical warfare agent first used by the Germans in WWI (at Ypres in 1917). Mustard gas attacks the eyes and lungs and causes blistering and conjunctivitis. It is poisonous to the entire system and there is no known antidote.

In this study the mustard gas analog 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide was forced into the airways of rats. This causes severe-sudden lung injury and the amount of lung damage was measured by the leak of blood protein (plasma albumin) into the lungs. The lung air sacs hemorrhage, inflammatory immune cells flood into the lung tissue, and fibrin levels (a blood clotting protein) also increase in the lungs as a result of exposure to this chemical. This leads to severe damage of lung tissue, hardening and scarring of the lungs, and the lungs collapse. Feeding SOD into the lungs at the same time as the mustard gas analog or introducing SOD along with it's partner antioxidant Catalase into the lungs greatly decreased the amount of lung injury. Also giving NAC, Glutathione, or Resveratrol the same time as the mustard gas analog, significantly reduced acute lung injury. Giving the antioxidants into the lungs the same time as the mustard gas decreased lung injury by nearly 80%. Giving either NAC or Glutathione alone, or both together even an hour after introducing the mustard gas analog into the lungs still significantly diminished lung injury. The study appears in the October 26, 2005 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

White Tea Polyphenols ranks among the best natural chemopreventive agents

When the tea leaf is picked and fermented initially it becomes Green Tea and Green Tea is very high in powerful Catechin polyphenols, especially EGCG, that help inhibit the cancer process. Further fermentation of the tea leaves forms oolong and black tea, and the protective Catechins are oxidized during the process of making oolong and black tea and their concentration is greatly decreased. White Tea is made by combining the tea leaves with a high proportion of buds and then preparing the finished product quickly. Both White and Green Tea are very important for health because of their high Catechin content and the particular blend and balance unique to each.

In this study, researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University wanted to compare the protective ability of White Tea Polyphenols. They found out it was very effective in preventing mutations on DNA (by using the Salmonella Test); the earliest steps in leading to cancer. In particular White Tea Polyphenols may be very beneficial in protecting from colon cancer. The study was presented at the 219th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.