Egcg – Side effects, Benefits

 

What is  EGCG ?

EGCG refers to epigallocatechin gallate, an important component of polyphenols which are exclusively found in green tea that helps in the production of alkaloids and proteins. The substance is a very powerful antioxidant which helps lower the risk of cancer and other health problems, including weight loss. There may be no definite recommendation concerning the amount of green tea a person should consume daily, but experts suggest that 3 to 5 cups are safe.

Green tea is among the wide variety of teas manufactured from Camellia sinensis leaves and has gone through minimal oxidation. The health benefits of green tea largely come from EGCG. However, the substance is only beneficial when consumed in moderation as it poses various side effects when taken excessively and under certain circumstances.

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History of EGCG

The effectiveness of EGCG in fighting and preventing cancer was first studied in Japan under the leadership of Hirofumi Tachibana at Kyushu University. Tachibana and his team wanted to figure out the effect of EGCG found in green tea in lung cancer development. The study revealed that the substance slowed down the formation and growth of cancer cells after a couple of cups of green tea.

Since then, various studies had been conducted to confirm the extent of the purported health benefits of EGCG. From China to the Middle East, and through the Western nations, there are wide varieties of green teas that are quite different from each other, depending on the growing conditions, handling and reaping time in the country from which the plant grew.

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Health Benefits of EGCG

  • EGCG is a very powerful, and possibly, the only antioxidant that offsets the damaging effects of free radicals in the human body effectively. Most cancers occur due to DNA abnormalities which are often the result of free radicals modifying the DNA inside the cells.
  • The substance has resilient anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases. It also helps in maintaining a healthy heart.
  • EGCG’s anti-inflammatory property also provides relief among people who are suffering from arthritis by reducing the level of inflammatory prostaglandin.
  • This substance also proves to be helpful in managing type I or II diabetes by aiding in the regulation of the glucose levels in the blood.
  • Poor or damaged cells are the root cause of aging, and EGCG’s antioxidant properties help in slowing down the aging process by optimizing, strengthening and repairing the damaged cells.

Side Effects of EGCG

Epigallocatechin gallate is often well-tolerated during trials. This is because the substance is water-soluble, which means that it is unlikely to build up upon overdose, with the excess just being flushed out from the body. However, further studies indicated that overconsumption can cause various health problems.

  • Nausea and indigestion

EGCG may cause upset stomach or nausea in some people. This was discovered during a study in 1984 wherein the substance fires up gastric acid production leading to an upset stomach.

  • Neural tube defect

EGCG has also been associated with the occurrence of neural tube defects because the substance deters the dihydrofolate reductase enzyme (DHFR). Low DHFR during pregnancy often results in folic acid deficiency, leading to the development of abnormal neural tube.

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