Green tea and Covid: is there a relationship?

Green tea (Camelia sinensis) is one of the most popular health drinks in the world.

Originating in China, green tea is praised for many health benefits due to its potential antioxidant, antiviral, and immunostimulating properties (1, 2).

It has recently been investigated for a possible role in the management of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 disease. You may have heard that drinking green tea prevents or cures disease.

In this article, we explain whether green tea affects COVID-19 and offer some immune boosting tips.

Green tea is rich in health-promoting polyphenols, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has antiviral effects against single-stranded RNA viruses (ssRNA) such as Zika, hepatitis C, influenza (influenza), dengue and other (1, 3, 4, 5).

Like these, SARS-CoV-2 is an ssRNA virus. Therefore, green tea extracts continue to be studied for their potential role in treating the virus and managing the COVID-19 pandemic (1, 2).

Test tube research shows that green tea extracts can fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus by damaging the spike protein, preventing its entry into human cells and reducing the overall volume of the virus (3, 4, 5, 6).

Treatment of tube cells with EGCG was most effective during the early stages of infection (3).

However, it is important to understand this drinkingG. green tea by itself cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. Most studies showing an effect have used single green tea extracts such as EGCG in much higher concentrated amounts than those found in natural tea.

Additionally, EGCG is poorly absorbed when consumed orally from teas (4).

However, green tea extracts can potentially be used for the natural treatment of COVID-19 after further research and testing in humans.

Remember, the best way to prevent serious COVID-19 illness is to get vaccinated, keep physical distance, and wash your hands often. You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccines here.

Summary

Drinking green tea cannot prevent, cure or cure the COVID-19 virus, but concentrated extracts such as EGCG can potentially be used for natural treatments after further research and testing in humans.

A COVID-19 infection can cause inflammation, which is linked to symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, and aching joints (7).

Green tea can have anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to reduce the harmful inflammation associated with the COVID-19 virus, potentially relieving these symptoms (8).

The EGCG present in green tea can also reduce bouts of infection by suppressing viral activity, although this effect has only been seen in test-tube studies. We need human research before we can draw conclusions (9).

Green tea is also a source of other immune support nutrients such as zinc, iron and selenium, albeit in small amounts (10).

Regardless, you may find that sipping a hot cup of green tea during a COVID-19 infection is simply soothing.

Summary

Green tea can reduce the harmful inflammation associated with COVID-19, potentially improving negative virus-induced symptoms, such as muscle aches. It is also a source of immune support nutrients, although they are only present in small amounts.

Green tea contains small amounts of the following immunostimulating micronutrients (10):

  • Zinc: can reduce harmful reactive oxygen species caused by infections
  • Selenium: stimulates the immune system to fight infections
  • Copper: improves the activity of the body’s natural killer cells
  • Vitamin B2: improves antibody function against viral infections
  • Vitamin B12: increases the production of immune cells

Nutritional deficiencies compromise immune health. For example, research suggests that selenium deficiency may contribute to more serious COVID-19 diseases (11).

contain varying levels of these micronutrients, depending on the quality of the soil in which it was grown (10).

Overall, the micronutrient concentrations in green tea appear to be low.

Summary

Green tea contains small amounts of the micronutrients zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins B2 and B12, all of which have been shown to boost immune health.

Green tea contains only small amounts of micronutrients that stimulate the immune system. Enjoy infused green tea along with these tips to better support your overall immune health:

  • Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods, especially fruits and vegetables (12, 13)
  • Exercise regularly (unless you are currently ill) (12)
  • Avoid smoking, as it impairs immune health (13, 14)
  • Practice hand washing and hygiene with disinfectants to limit viral spread (15)
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, as poor sleep can compromise immune health (16)

Summary

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, practice hand washing and hygiene, and aim for 7-9 hours a night to boost your immune health.

Green tea is a popular drink often touted as a health drink. Some claims may be true: it has demonstrated antiviral effects against single-stranded RNA viruses (ssRNAs) such as Zika, hepatitis C, influenza, and dengue.

Its potential role in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 continues to be studied, but drinking green tea has not been shown to prevent or cure COVID-19.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, exercise regularly, avoid smoking, practice hand washing and hygiene, and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night to boost your immune health.

Vaccination against COVID-19, along with physical distancing and masking when appropriate, remains the best way to protect yourself and others from serious illness.

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