Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), also known as Epigallocatechin 3-gallate, is the ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, and is a type of catechin.
EGCG is the most abundant catechin in most notably tea, among other plants, and is also a potent antioxidant that may have therapeutic properties for many disorders including cancer. It is found in green tea, but not black tea, as EGCG is converted into thearubigins in black teas. In a high temperature environment, an epimerization change is likely to occur, because heating results in the conversion from EGCG to GCG. Thus it is considered inappropriate to infuse green tea or its extracts with overheated water.
EGCG can be found in many supplements.
EGCG and HIV
There has been research investigating the benefit of EGCG from green tea in the treatment of HIV infection, where EGCG has been shown to reduce plaques related to AIDS-related dementia in the laboratory, as well as block gp120. However, these effects have yet to be confirmed in live human trials, and it does not imply that green tea will cure or block HIV infection, but it may help regulate viral load as long as it is not involved in adverse drug reactions. The concentrations of EGCG used in the studies could not be reached by drinking green tea. More study into EGCG and HIV is currently underway.
EGCG and Cancer
There is increasing evidence to show that EGCG – along with other flavonoids – can be beneficial in treating brain, prostate,cervical and bladder cancers. EGCG has been shown to bind and inhibit the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xl which has been implicated in both cancer cell and normal cell survival.
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