The role played by physiological levels free radicals and antioxidants in degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's have been well established following our improved understanding of free radical biology. The area offers potential scope because of the fact that confirmation of the cause and effect relationship would mean that treatment for such disorders can be made very simple and affordable by a mere supplementation of antioxidants.
Green tea consists of the leaves and delicate young leaf buds of an evergreen bush Camellia sinensis, widely cultivated in Asia. Green tea enjoys worldwide consumption due to the innumerable health benefits associated with it. The herb, originally used for mental stimulation by monks has also been used for treatment of cold, cough and other breathing disorders.
Furthermore, consumption of green tea has also been documented to reduce the incidence of certain forms of cancer and prevent UV damage induced by sun. The health benefits of green tea can be attributed to the abundance of antioxidants, proven to enhance antioxidant activity in the blood.
It has now been found out that an active ingredient in green tea may protect the brain from the memory-destroying disease of Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a progressive disorder that causes memory loss and afflicts millions globally. The work is still in an experimental phase and would need substantial evidence to be applied to human beings.
The experiment was carried out in special experimental animals developed for the study by genetic methods. Mice injected with an antioxidant found in green tea was found to have decreased production of beta-amyloid, a protein that forms the plaques that clog the brains of Alzheimer's victims.
Several months of injections reduced plaque formation by as much as 54 percent, a significant finding. Drinking ordinary tea would not provide similar health benefit because it does not contain the required ingredients.
Clinical trials have been directed towards development of an oral formulation of green tea extract following assessment of safety and efficacy of the extract, proved to be satisfactory as of now.