March 24/Montreal/Cardiovascular Device Liability Week -- Long known to be beneficial in heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, a new study finds a specific green tea extract may delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The 50% pure extraction of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) incorporates a flavonoid which is the most potent of four major catechins in green tea. The study was performed by Dr. Stephane Bastianetto at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University in Montreal.
In the study, rats were fed food that contained the extract, compared to a control group whose food did not contain the extract. Results showed that rats who ate the extract had an 18% reduction of free radicals in a key region of the brain involved with learning and memory. This region is severely damaged when Alzheimer's is present.
"This suggests regular consumption of green tea may protect against the deleterious effects of oxidative stress, delaying or preventing age-related memory deficits," said Dr. Bastianetto.
According to Dr. Bastianetto, discovering the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier in sufficient concentrations and actually reach the brain is significant.
"Green tea has higher concentrations of beneficial catechins -- especially EGCG," said Christine Renken of A. Holliday & Company. "Extracting this substance allows it to be used in foods such as yogurt and beverages as well as supplements, pet foods and even beauty products."
EGCG has been associated with decreasing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's and some forms of cancer. Studies have shown that EGCG may inhibit production of inflammatory molecules associated with rheumatoid arthritis; reduce blood clotting and cholesterol; enhance the immune system, boost metabolism and burn fat as well as protecting against gum disease and reducing cavities.
From the March 29, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition