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Green Tea Protects the Brain and Prevents Brain Aging

People have enjoyed drinking tea (Camellia sinensis) for thousands of years. The combination of its naturally occurring amino acid l-theanine, combined with low levels of caffeine, gives people a sense of alertness and focus. Other compounds, including epicogallatin-3-gallate (better known as EGCG), may inhibit tumor growth and improve chemotherapy treatment.

But research suggests that among its many benefits, it also appears that regular tea drinking helps foster connections between the hemispheres of the brain and essentially keeps the brain younger and more adaptable.

It is typically believed that we have strengths related to the development of either the right or left hemispheres of the brain. Connections between the two – like any promoted brain connections – can help keep cognitive disorders at bay, especially as we get older.

That the “default mode network” of the brain in tea drinkers showed greater connectivity isn’t surprising. If tea can help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, stronger signal strength in the mind is fairly likely.

Another review of green tea effects in the brain has found that l-theanine arginine also prevent the aging of the brain due to their stress-relieving actions. So, even though EGCG can promote greater brain activity, it is balanced by the ratio of beneficial amino acids that relax the mind as well.

Abstracts:

Li J, Romero-Garcia R, Suckling J, Feng L. Habitual tea drinking modulates brain efficiency: evidence from brain connectivity evaluation. Aging (Albany NY). 2019;11(11):3876–3890.

The majority of tea studies have relied on neuropsychological measures, and much fewer on neuroimaging measures, especially for interregional connections. To date, there has been no exploration of the effect of tea on system-level brain networks. We recruited healthy older participants to two groups according to their history of tea drinking frequency and investigated both functional and structural networks to reveal the role of tea drinking on brain organization. The results showed that tea drinking gave rise to the more efficient structural organization, but had no significant beneficial effect on the global functional organization. The suppression of hemispheric asymmetry in the structural connectivity network was observed as a result of tea drinking. We did not observe any significant effects of tea drinking on the hemispheric asymmetry of the functional connectivity network. In addition, functional connectivity strength within the default mode network (DMN) was greater for the tea-drinking group, and coexistence of increasing and decreasing connective strengths was observed in the structural connectivity of the DMN. Our study offers the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests a protective effect on age-related decline in brain organization.

Here is the link to the complete review: Habitual tea drinking modulates brain efficiency: evidence from brain connectivity evaluation

Unno K, Nakamura Y. Green Tea Suppresses Brain Aging. Molecules. 2021 Aug 12;26(16):4897.

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the intake of green tea is effective in reducing the risk of dementia. The most important component of green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Both EGCG and epigallocatechin (EGC) have been suggested to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain parenchyma, but EGCG has been found to be more effective than EGC in promoting neuronal differentiation. It has also been suggested that the products of EGCG decomposition by the intestinal microbiota promote the differentiation of nerve cells and that both EGCG and its degradation products act on nerve cells with a time lag. On the other hand, the free amino acids theanine and arginine contained in green tea have stress-reducing effects. While long-term stress accelerates the aging of the brain, theanine and arginine suppress the aging of the brain due to their anti-stress effect. Since this effect is counteracted by EGCG and caffeine, the ratios between these green tea components are important for the anti-stress action. In this review, we describe how green tea suppresses brain aging, through the activation of nerve cells by both EGCG and its degradation products, and the reductions in stress achieved by theanine and arginine.

Here is the link to the complete review: Green Tea Suppresses Brain Aging

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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