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Green Tea Benefits May Extend to Protection From Dementia

New research shows that the powerful antioxidants found in green tea called polyphenols could provide protective effects against Alzheimer's and dementia. Researchers from Newcastle University conducted the study and their findings were published in the December 2010 issue of the journal Phytomedicine.

For the study the researchers subjected green tea extract to a simulated gastrointestinal digestion and prepared a post-digested extract. This post-digested extract was then assessed to see if it had protective effects against hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid.

Hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid have a damaging effect on neuronal cells in the brain, and are believed to play a role in the development of dementia. The researchers found that the post-digested extract did protect the neuronal cells in the brain.

Additionally, the researchers exposed tumor cells to various concentrations of post-digested polyphenols. They found that the polyphenols showed anti-cancer properties, backing up previous research linking green tea to reductions in the risk of certain cancers.

A large body of science has previously highlighted the high levels of antioxidants in green tea and the subsequent health benefits associated with those properties but this was the first study to test polyphenols in a post-digested state.

The researchers noted that this study fills a necessary gap in knowledge because even if a food is known to have health properties, those benefits will never be realized if they do not effectively absorb into the body.

This study clearly adds yet another layer of evidence to back the numerous health benefits associated with drinking green tea. Previous research has found that green tea may be effective for improving heart health, promoting weight loss, aiding digestion and decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

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