Green tea may help improve bone health, researchers in Hong Kong have reported.
The boffins found that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown.
The study has been published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
In the study, Ping Chung Leung and colleagues noted that many scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.
To reach the conclusion, scientists exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components - epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) - for several days. They found that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones.
The scientists also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they noted.