We all know that green tea helps reduce the risk of heart attack but do you know how? Let’s explore findings from different studies and see what gives green tea the power to prevent heart disease.
A recent study showed that a substance found in green tea could help scientists find new ways to reduce the risk of heart attacks. The study found that a molecule in green tea, known as EGCG, can bind to a protein that is found in plaques linked to coronary artery disease and, under certain circumstances, make it more soluble.
Experts say the latest discovery could open up new possibilities for developing molecules to tackle deposits within blood vessels which contribute to coronary artery disease. EGCG has previously been shown to affect the architecture of proteins that make up the plaques linked to Alzheimers disease.
Writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers at the University of Leeds and Lancaster University describe how they sought to explore the effect of green tea on apoA-I: a protein that is a key component of so-called “good cholesterol” HDL, but which also has a dark side. “A certain amount of the protein exists by itself and this seems to be the case particularly as we get older,” said Middleton, adding that in certain circumstances the protein can misfold and form fine fibres which build up in plaques within arteries. Middleton adds that it is thought the addition of the fibres makes the plaques more likely to break up into chunks, thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The team began by brewing up green tea using a microwave – a point that might raise the eyebrows of tea connoisseurs – and after careful analysis found EGCG from the tea bound to fine fibres of the protein.
Moreover, the EGCG appeared to break down the fine fibres of the protein into smaller, circular forms which were soluble, provided the fibres originally formed in the presence of a substance similar to that found between cells in the body.
Researcher David Middleton said, “The health benefits of green tea have been widely promoted and it has been known for some time that EGCG can alter the structures of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Our results show that this intriguing compound might also be effective against the types of plaques which can cause heart attacks and strokes.”