Green tea contains chemicals that seem to be effective in prevent the brain damages similar to Alzheimer's.
Researchers at the University of South Florida have found that a component of green tea prevented Alzheimer's-like damage in the brains of mice genetically programmed to develop the neuro-degenerative disease process. The component, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is a major antioxidant in green tea and has been widely studied for its reported protection against certain cancers.
In an article published latest edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers report the first evidence that EGCG decreases production of the Alzheimer's-related protein, beta-amyloid, which can accumulate abnormally in the brain and lead to nerve damage and memory loss. This reduction in beta-amyloid was observed both in cell cultures and a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease. EGCG appears to block the initial process by which the Alzheimer's-related protein is formed in brain cells.
After treating Alzheimer's mice for several months with daily injections of pure EGCG, the researchers observed a dramatic decrease -- as much as 54 percent -- of brain-clogging Alzheimer's plaques.
Green tea contains many antioxidants, including those known as flavnoids that can protect against free radical damage to the brain. However, Dr. Tan and colleagues demonstrated that other flavnoids in green tea actually oppose naturally occurring EGCG's ability to prevent the harmful build-up of beta-amyloid. Thus, Dr. Tan said, drinking green tea would not likely have a beneficial effect through the same mechanism that EGCG works.