Green tea, the world’s most consumed beverage next to water, has been a subject of numerous studies for the past decades. This refreshing and delicious drink is known to contain special compounds and antioxidants that promote physical and mental wellness. While it has already been established that green tea improves memory, a new research shows how exactly it affects brain cells, resulting to better memory and spatial learning abilities.
Researchers from the Third Military Medical University, Chongqing in China studied the organic chemical compound found in green tea, known as epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. This essential type of antioxidant has been known to promote good cardiovascular health and protect the body against age-related degenerative diseases. They theorised that EGCG may also have a positive impact on the brain by stimulating the production of neuron cells, a process called neurogenesis. To determine whether their theory is true or not, they focused their research on how the brain, particularly the hippocampus, responds to the said antioxidant. This is the region that is responsible for processing short-term and long-term memory.
Green tea – potential aid to memory loss
They conducted a laboratory experiment on two groups of mice, one acted as the placebo or control group. Prior the trial, the mice were trained for three days to find a visible platform in a maze and 7 days to find a hidden platform.
The team, headed by Professor Yun Bai, found that the ECGC boosts the production of neural progenitor cells – biological cells that, like stem cells, have the ability to differentiate into various types of cell. The mice which were treated with ECGC were able to find the hidden platform in a much lesser time than the placebo group.
Upon analysing the results, the researchers concluded that EGCG indeed promotes learning and memory by enhancing object recognition and spatial memory. Their study, according to Prof Bai, helps in the understanding of ECGC and green tea potential in defying age-related diseases such as memory loss.
Their report was published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
Source of this article:
Brainy Beverage: Study Reveals How Green Tea Boosts Brain Cell Production to Aid Memory, Wiley Online Library