Study: Active ingredient in green tea strengthens the brain, body

BETHESDA, Md. — Green tea has long been touted for its role in helping to prevent conditions from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. Now a recent study shows it carries an ingredient that helps reduce memory loss, brain insulin resistance, and one’s risk for obesity, too.

Research released by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology shows that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a biologically-active ingredient prevalent in green tea, could alleviate high-fat, high-fructose-induced insulin resistance in the brain, as well as cognitive impairment.

Green teaWhile previous research has identified EGCG as a way to treat many diseases in humans, this latest study shows a positive impact on insulin resistance and cognitive defects triggered in the brain by an average Western diet.

“Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries,” explains researcher Xuebo Liu, in a media release. “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”

Liu and his research team divided three-month-old male mice into three groups: one a control group fed a standard diet, one fed a high-fructose and high-fat diet, and one fed a high-fructose and high-fat diet and two grams of EGCG per liter of drinking water. After 16 weeks, the researchers weighed the mice and tested them with a water maze. The group of mice fed EGCG and a high-fat diet weighed less than the control group and significantly less than the high-fat only group.

In the water maze test, the EGCG and high-fat high-fructose group outperformed the other groups, demonstrating its ability to preserve memory.

The full study was published online in the FASEB Journal.