DRINKING green tea may help prevent aneurysms, Japanese researchers revealed in a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.
The researchers were investigating abdominal aortic aneurysms, a condition in which the aorta, the body’s main artery, develops a weak spot that becomes stretched and swollen. Aneurysms are particularly dangerous because they have no symptoms until they burst, and patients can quickly bleed to death if not treated immediately. Even if the aneurysm is discovered before it bursts, the researchers explained, the only treatment is risky surgery.
The study was a follow-up to earlier research on the health benefits from drinking green tea, including the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation and oxidation.
“The type of polyphenol found in green tea has recently been shown to regenerate elastin, an essential protein that gives the artery its stretchy, yet sturdy, texture,” said Kyoto University’s Dr. Shuji Setozaki, the study’s lead author.
In the study, the research team treated rats with enzymes to induce abdominal aortic aneurysm. The rats that were given green tea polyphenol, a major component of green tea, developed abdominal aortic aneurysms less frequently. They also had lower levels of inflammation and greater elastin production, protecting the artery from rupture. In rats that received no treatment, the abdominal aortic aneurysms eventually ruptured and led to death 50 percent of the time.
“Japanese people have the longest lifespan in the world, and studies show that 80 percent of the population drink green tea on a daily basis,” said study co-author Dr. Hidetoshi Masumoto. “We believe daily intake of green tea should be considered as a new preventative strategy for abdominal aortic aneurysm, and the focus of future studies will be to investigate optimal doses.”