Tea is a popular beverage with a number of putative beneficial health effects. A recent large epidemiological study in Japan demonstrates that increased tea consumption is associated with decreased cardiovascular mortality (but not cancer mortality) in a dose-dependent manner. The polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant tea catechin. Beneficial effects of EGCG therapy have been reported in a number of human and animal studies. Emerging evidence suggests that EGCG may improve endothelial function, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, as well as glucose and lipid metabolism. Studies in cultured cells and animal models suggest molecular mechanisms for EGCG to activate specific cellular signaling pathways that may play major roles in prevention and amelioration of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In this review, the beneficial health effects of tea and molecular mechanisms of EGCG related to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases will be discussed.
Keywords: epigallocatechin, Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, epicatechin, mediated brachial artery dilation, Dyslipidemia
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