Green tea, red wine may block formation of toxic metabolites
A new Tel Aviv University study suggests there is hope of treating certain inborn congenital metabolic diseases -- a hope found in green tea and in red wine.
Most people with inherited metabolic disorders are born with a defective gene that results in a critical enzyme deficiency.
In the absence of a cure, many patients with inborn congenital metabolic disorders must adhere to a strict and demanding diet their entire lives. This new research finds that certain compounds found naturally in green tea and red wine may block the formation of toxic metabolites.
The research was led by Prof. Ehud Gazit of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and his doctoral student Shira Shaham-Niv. It was published in the Nature group journal Communications Chemistry.
"In the case of inborn congenital metabolic diseases, the body does not produce a vital metabolic enzyme," Shaham-Niv said.
"As a result, metabolites -- substances that are, among other things, the building blocks of DNA and proteins -- accumulate in the body. Such uncontrolled accumulation is toxic and can cause severe developmental and mental disorders.
"Our new study demonstrates once again the ability of nature to produce the best candidate of drugs to treat some of the worst human maladies."
Collectively, this group of disorders constitutes a significant portion of pediatric genetic diseases. The disease phenylketonuria (PKU), which produces the aggregation of the metabolite phenylalanine, is one common inborn metabolic disease.
Infants with PKU must adhere to a strict diet free of phenylalanine for the rest of their lives. If they don't, they may face severe debilitating developmental problems.