Lupus is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease.
It occurs when the body’s immune system becomes reactive to its cells, leading to their destruction.
Women are the most common victims of Lupus as compared to men, although it can manifest itself in any individual.
Common symptoms of this medical condition include red rashes, fatigue, hair loss, swelling in the joints and fever.
Organs which are at risk of damage include the heart, brain, kidney or liver.
Treatments include medications that can control symptoms and prolong or prevent organ damage.
Dietary and lifestyle changes play an essential role in the treatment and management of Lupus.
Interestingly, Research studies have found that Green tea has therapeutic properties that can relieve symptoms associated with Lupus and thereby help in the therapy of this medical condition.
What is Green tea and what are its benefits?
Green tea is made from leaves of Camellia sinensis and is popularly known for its health benefits. Its consumption is all over the world however it is most commonly produced in the Asian countries.
It is rich in antioxidants like flavonols, and clinical research suggests a wide variety of benefits on consuming green tea. Now let’s have a look at the benefits of green tea specifically in Lupus.
Benefits of Green Tea in Lupus
Green tea is rich in anti-oxidants and help in improving immunity against Lupus. It also protects organ damage and helps control inflammation.
1. It is rich in antioxidants
Increased oxidative stress is linked to increased disease activity in Lupus. Lupus nephritis is manifested as a result of oxidative damage to the kidneys.
A study published in Free radical biology and medicine mentioned that green tea extracts are enriched with antioxidants, flavonols that can scavenge free oxygen radicals for treating oxidative stress in Lupus.
Another study published by Yasuo et al. showed that green tea extracts bind to various enzyme proteins and inhibit oxidative stress induced by them in the cells.
What does this mean? Oxidative stress in Lupus can be prevented by consuming green tea on a regular basis. This can also help in preventing organ damage.
2. It improves anti-inflammatory defences
Red rashes are the most common symptom of Lupus, and chronic inflammation can lead to other secondary complications.
It is best to control inflammation before it worsens the case immediately.
A study conducted by Bao et al. reported that Green tea extracts suppress inflammatory pathways that are associated with chronic inflammatory conditions.
Another study confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of green tea leaves and this activity was attributed to high flavonol content present in it.
What does this mean? Green tea leaves possess anti-inflammatory activity that can alleviate red rashes and lesions in Lupus.
3. It has cardioprotective activity
High cholesterol levels and organ damage in Lupus patients pose a risk to heart health. One must eat healthily and incorporate physical exercise to protect the heart.
Studies suggest drinking green tea on a daily basis for preventing organ damage.
A study published in Current Medicinal Chemistry in 2009 reported that Catechins are major antioxidants present in Green tea that aid in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, protecting the heart and maintaining heart health.
According to a study published in Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines in 2013 revealed that cardioprotective activity of Green tea extracts, catechins are attributed to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, reduction in the aggregation of platelets and inhibition of proliferation of smooth muscle cells.
The ability of Green tea to exhibit and influence these mechanisms help in protecting the heart from damage, failure, and diseases.
What does this mean? Green tea has a cardioprotective activity that can prevent and fight organ damage induced in Lupus.
4. It improves the quality of life
Lupus has a wide variety of complications that affect the quality of life of patients and interferes with their overall well-being.
According to a recent study published in Phytotherapy Research consumption of green tea extracts for 12 weeks significantly improved disease activity as well as the quality of life in patients who have Lupus.
68 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus participated in the study. They were treated with 1000mg green tea extract (2 capsules per day) or placebo.
Within 3 months, a reduction in disease activity, an increase in vitality and general health were observed.
What does this mean? Consumption of green tea can help alleviate various symptoms associated with Lupus thereby improving the quality of life of the patients.
5. It protects kidney damage
Kidneys are highly susceptible to damage in case of Lupus nephritis, and this condition is known as lupus nephritis wherein excessive inflammation and oxidative stress damages the kidneys.
According to a study published in Journal of translational internal medicine in 2016, green tea extracts play a beneficial role in preventing chronic kidney diseases by regulating inflammatory mediators like natural killer cells that are associated with the damage.
A study published in Free radicals biology and medicine in 2011 reported that green tea extracts have a beneficial effect on the treatment of lupus nephritis by increasing antioxidant status, reducing inflammation and improving the activity of certain immune system cells lowering the extent of disease activity.
What does this mean? Green tea possesses nephroprotective effects, and thus its daily consumption can prevent lupus nephritis.
6. It modulates the activity of the immune system
Since Lupus is an autoimmune disease, it is important to regulate the activity of the immune system to prevent the condition from worsening further or even developing in the first place.
A study published in Molecular aspects of medicine in 2012 described the efficacy of green tea in treating autoimmune conditions by suppressing autoreactive cells of the immune system.
Another study published in Food and function in 2013 demonstrated that green tea has an immunomodulatory effect that can prevent the development of autoimmune inflammatory conditions.
What does this mean? Immunomodulatory effect of green tea helps prevent autoreactivity of cells of the immune system in Lupus.
The Dosage of Green Tea for Lupus
There is no specific dosage of Green tea for Lupus however it has been recommended that one should consume 1–2 cups of tea a day for positive results.
Green tea extracts have a dosage that ranges from 300–400 mg. Some studies have used 1000mg and above of green tea extracts.
One must try to opt for organic green tea leaves from trusted markets and not compromise on the brand as there is a likelihood of adulteration if not bought from an appropriate source.
Since there is no specific dosage, the dosage for Lupus might vary depending on the severity of the disease.
Hence one can begin the intake on a small dose and gradually increase the dose if it suits the body.
It is always best to consult a doctor for appropriate dosage for your condition especially if you’re suffering from other medical conditions consuming other medications.
Pregnant and lactating women must also consult a doctor before intake.
Green tea leaves are natural sources that do not pose any adverse side effects. However general precautions must be considered.
Certain research studies reveal that green tea can cause stomach irritation in some. Hence one must begin with small doses and if any such side effect is observed one must stop the intake.
Green also contains caffeine, although a decaffeinated variety is also available it has not been researched much, and its polyphenolic content is still not known.
So it is important to avoid large doses of the tea.
Pregnant and lactating women, as well as those on medications, must consult a doctor before beginning its intake.
Green tea imparts a variety of health benefits that can help treat and manage Lupus to a great extent. It has very few side effects and is a safe and effective alternative.
Most importantly, it can be used as add-on therapy in Lupus to observe the best positive results in the treatment.