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A hepatitis infection can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. To protect your liver, sip the beverage that keeps hepatitis C virus (HCV) from gaining entry to liver cells.
A study in Germany shows that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)—a natural substance contained in green tea—hampers HCV from entering liver cells. The research shows that EGCG might also help liver transplant patients avoid HCV infection.
HCV is a frequent root cause of chronic liver disease. This type of infection often necessitates a liver transplant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 170 million people globally suffer from this viral infection. And other research shows that about 2 percent of the entire population of the world has HCV. In some countries the rate is now up to 20 percent.
In the German study, researchers looked at the action of green tea’s catechins, natural chemicals that act as antioxidants and are known to reduce the risk of both viral infections and cancer.
According to Sandra Ciesek, a researcher at the Hannover Medical School: “Green tea catechins such as EGCG and its derivatives epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechingallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) have been shown to exhibit antiviral and anti-oncogenic properties. Our study further explores the potential effect these flavonoids have in preventing HCV reinfection following liver transplantation.”
In particular, EGCG was shown to restrict the entry of HCV into liver cells. The researchers believe this effect occurs because EGCG does something beneficial to the body’s liver cells.
The study showed that, in some way, EGCG inhibits viral attachment to membranes.
“The green tea antioxidant EGCG inhibits HCV cell entry by blocking viral attachment and may offer a new approach to prevent HCV infection, particularly reinfection following liver transplantation.” says Ciesek.