Thursday, May 26, 2011

Green Tea Polyphenol Heals Stomach Ulcers

Green Tea Polyphenol Heals Stomach Ulcers
Green tea is a good candidate for treating stomach ulcers. (Photo by toughkidcst)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are generally used for treating pain and reducing fever. The most common NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen. While effective, these drugs have some pretty nasty side effects. For example, up to one in four regular users develop a chronic gastric ulcer at some point.

In addition to causing gastric, peptic and duodenal ulcers, NSAIDs also delay ulcer healing. In the United States, upper gastrointestinal problems from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use result in 16,500 deaths every year. What's worse, almost half of the prescriptions for NSAIDs are estimated to be unnecessary. Anti-ulcer drugs, on the other hand, are expensive and do not prevent the ulcers from recurring.

In a recent Indian study, the effectiveness of the anti-ulcer drug omeprazole and one of green tea's polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), was compared in mice (link). The mice were first given enough of a NSAID called indomethacin to cause stomach ulceration. After that they were split into three groups: the first group was given a standard effective dose of omeprazole (3 mg/kg), while the second group was given EGCG in various doses (0.5–5 mg/kg). The third group acted as the control group and was given no treatment.

After three days, the ulcers of the mice in the control group had not healed at all. The omeprazole-treated mice had healed ~75% of their stomach ulcers. The effectiveness of the green tea polyphenol was dose-dependent: with 3 mg/kg, the ulcers healed as effectively as with omeprazole, while the largest dose (5 mg/kg) resulted in ~82% healing.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs cause gastric ulcers through a variety of mechanisms. They increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increase lipid peroxidation and cause an imbalance in cytokines which regulate the immune system. In this study, EGCG improved all three factors even more effectively than omeprazole.

Although both omeprazole and epigallocatechin gallate have antioxidant properties, the mechanisms through which they work differ from each other. The main reason omeprazole works is because it reduces the production of gastric acid, whereas green tea is said to increase gastric acid release. While more studies are probably needed, the authors of the paper consider EGCG a promising candidate for treating stomach ulcers because it has not been shown to have negative side effects even with large doses (although there are potential problems with high-dose green tea extracts).

For more information on green tea, see these posts:

Green Tea Protects from the Psychological Effects of Stress in Rats
Tea, Coffee and Cocoa: All Good for Your Teeth
Green Tea and Capsaicin Reduce Hunger and Calorie Intake
Green Tea Extract Increases Insulin Sensitivity & Fat Burning during Exercise

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6 kommenttia:

yoyo June 4, 2011 at 8:03 AM  

Heh, I guess that horrible nauseated pain i get when i drink my green tea on an empty stomach is the 'ulcer leaving the body"/marine

gwarm July 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM  

Where do you get your green tea (sites?):

Antonio September 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM  

Green tea is know to scale back Helicobacter pylori inflammation. Chronic inflammation from H pylori may cause gastric ulcer.

Florent Berthet February 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM  

Hi, what's your take on green tea extract powders as a substitute for green tea?

I believe it can be cheaper but I'd like your advice.

For example, here's what I can have on a website for about 20€ (for 500g of powder):
Total Tea polyphenols: min 40%
Catechins: min 25%
EGCG: min 10%
Caffeine: max 8%


JLL March 10, 2012 at 6:11 PM  

@Florent Berthet,

As long as you don't go overboard (i.e. don't take more than equal to about 10 cups of green tea), I think they're generally fine. Fluoride could be an issue, but then, it could also be an issue in regular green tea.


Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM  

Interesting post
I now have ulcers caused by ibuprofen I took last year for a back injury.
I stopped my normal daily 4-6 cups of green tea as it seemed to aggravate my stomach and made me feel nauseous especially on an empty stomach.
Surely the stomach acid needs to be reduced for a while for the ulcers to heal, green tea increases acid how can this help
So far pine nut oil has helped me the most, 2 weeks of using it and I am pain free 4 more weeks should be enough for a permanent cure.

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