Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Green Tea and Autoimmune Disease

This article says that green tea may help prevent autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s Syndrome. I was curious to know what that is, so I looked it up. Sjogren’s Syndrome is a condition in which immune cells attack and destroy tear glands and salivary glands, leading to dry eyes and dry mouth. About nine out of ten people with this syndrome are women. There is no cure or prevention available. But in the research reported above the doctors said, “Those treated with the green tea extract beginning at three weeks, showed significantly less damage to those glands over time.” And in China, where they drink a lot of green tea, only 5 percent of the elderly suffer from dry mouth, compared to 30 percent of elderly Americans. Who knows, maybe green tea could help.

I was having dry eyes recently. I remember I was blinking them repeatedly because they were uncomfortable. I think it was associated with using the heater in my car, though – the warm air blowing up and into my eyes. I don’t have that condition much anymore, but I was interested to read about Sjogren’s Syndrome, and I will definitely pay more attention to the condition if my eyes become dry again.

I know that people who smoke often have dry eyes, and perhaps dry mouth as well. That is just a function of having heated smoke swirling around your face and being inhaled all the time. I guess the point is, sometimes dry eyes are a result of something quite simple like air blowing in your face, or cigarette smoke irritating them. Sometimes it is a result of something more serious. If you think you might have Sjogren’s Syndrome, or anything similar, please see your doctor. He or she might be able to help. In the meantime I will continue drinking my two cups of green tea per day.

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