Back in January, rock-n-roll legend Glenn Frey died from complications of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). While this disease is deadly, it's possible the Eagle's singer was killed by his medication, not RA. That's sad enough, but new research suggests he didn't even need to be on the drugs that may have killed him.
Researchers from Washington State University in Spokane found a new way to combat the joint pain, inflammation, and tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. They began looking for a new treatment largely because, as the lead researcher said, "Existing drugs for rheumatoid arthritis are expensive, immunosuppressive, and sometimes unsuitable for long-term use."
Combine that immunosuppressive effect and the fact that Glenn Frey had been on his drugs for years, and you begin to see the danger. Frey died after contracting pneumonia. And pneumonia is a common side effect of the drug Enbrel, which is notorious for its ability to suppress the immune system. The longer you take it, the more likely you are to die from pneumonia.
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So these researchers wanted to find a better way to treat RA. They've been studying RA for the last 15 years, so they had some idea of where to look. They put together a study to evaluate the phytochemical epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). As you may know, this is a molecule in green tea that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Amazingly, they found that the EGCG was able to effectively reduce the effects of the disease without blocking other cellular functions.
To conduct the study, the researchers gave human RA to animals. Then they administered the EGCG for 10 days. After the treatment, the researchers noticed that the ankle swelling of the animals was markedly reduced. More importantly, there weren't any side effects. And the long-term use of green tea extract, which contains high amounts of EGCG, is safe.
So if you have RA, talk to your doctor about taking a highly concentrated product like Green Tea Extract instead of Enbrel. At the very least, your doctor might be willing to significantly lower your dose of Enbrel or the frequency at which you take it. Most doctors try to lower the dose of this drug over time because it can be so dangerous. But since it does help the symptoms of RA, they might be reluctant to completely remove it from your treatment. Ask your doctor if he would be willing to wean you off of the drug if the green tea helps.By the way, the green tea extract also might help psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. One patient said it cleared up 90% of their psoriasis. So give it a try.
Your insider for better health,
Anil K. Singh, Sadiq Umar, Sharayah Riegsecker, Mukesh Chourasia, Salahuddin Ahmed. Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor ß-Activated Kinase Activation by Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts: Suppression of K63-Linked Autoubiquitination of Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 6. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 2016; 68 (2): 347 DOI: 10.1002/art.39447.