SHEFFIELD, England–Green tea catechins may benefit arthritis patients by reducing the degradation of cartilage, according to an in vitro study conducted at the University of Sheffield Medical School. Research published in the March issue of the Journal of Nutrition (132:341-46, 2002) (www.nutrition.org) was based on the premise that the catechins–or polyphenolic compounds–found in green tea reduce arthritis inflammation.
Researchers studied bovine and human cartilage samples, which were cultured with and without reagents known to accelerate cartilage breakdown, and then catechins were added to the mix. Catechins, particularly those containing a gallate ester, effectively prevented collagen breakdown, and no toxic effects were noted.
Researchers concluded that some green tea catechins may be protective to cartilage. In addition, they stated that the consumption of green tea may prevent arthritis damage and benefit the arthritis patient by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown. It was further noted that additional studies are required to determine whether catechins can effectively prevent cartilage breakdown in humans.