Most green tea health-related articles reference studies that demonstrate green tea to have cancer prevention properties. Some studies show green tea to improve weight-loss. The University of California at Berkley has been working diligently on a study of EGCG, a molecule found in green tea, that shows the molecule to prevent and even cure Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration in mice.

What is EGCG?

Green tea is loaded full of molecules called polyphenols, micronutrients with antioxidant activity, found most abundantly in whole foods such as dried spices, fruits, vegetables, red wine, and cocoa. According to Dr. Mercola, polyphenols play a significant role in preventing and in reducing the progression of diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

The major polyphenols in green tea are of the category called flavonoids (e.g., catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and proanthocyanins). Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is viewed as the most significant active component in green tea. The leaf bud and first leaves specifically are richest in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), coincidentally many green and white teas are made with only the bud and first leaves.

Why is EGCG important when it comes to Alzheimer’s Disease?

A recent study, carried out by a team from the University of California at Berkley, found that EGCG has a preventative and even antidotal effect on Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration in mice. This is not to say that green tea reverses Alzheimer’s. However, the studies do re-confirm that the abundant store of antioxidants in green tea has valuable medical potential. EGCG – and carrots– are part of prevention and treatment of Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration in mice. 

More about the study.

The research study carried out by a team from the University of California at Berkley used 32 laboratory mice. The mice were bred to produce Alzheimer-like traits and were randomly assigned to four treatment groups with an equal number of males and females in each. Along with the 32 mice with Alzhimer-like traits, 32 healthy mice were mixed into the study as an experimental “control” to ensure accuracy. The mice were fed a diet of EGCG and ferulic acid(FA), found in carrots, over a three-month period.

One group of mice received just EGCG, another group received just FA, and a third group received neither EGCG, nor FA. The fourth group of mice was the motivation behind this article, they were fed EGCG as well as FA.

Before and after the study’s diet period, the mice underwent a series of neuropsychological tasks that measured thinking-skills and memory, similar to the tests conducted on patients suffering dementia.

The results were indisputable. After three months, the combination treatment [EGCG + FA] completely restored working memory in the mice with neurodegeneration, and they performed just as well as the healthy comparison mice.

What brings EGCG to the forefront of molecular biology health research – and green teas into the spotlight – is that it is a powerful combination that can be used to directly attack, block, trick and infiltrate unhealthy cells.

Conclusion

The University of California at Berkley report stresses its limitations, most specifically that results from studies of mice often do not transfer to humans. It’s not a clinical trial and excludes such considerations as the downside of heavy green tea dosages; they decrease folic acid levels and interfere with iron absorption.

Sources: 

Science Daily, Amazing Green Tea, Google Scholar science journal abstracts, WebMD

EGCG: Potent Extract Of Green Tea, Inteligent Medicine, Dr. Hoffman

Polyphenols - What They Are, and Why You Need Them, Dr. Mercola

 

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