Healthy Living

Studies Linked Green Tea to Prevent or Delay Alzheimer's Disease

Studies Linked Green Tea to Preventing and Delaying Alzheimer's Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2017, Alzheimer's disease kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined. In fact, it is considered the sixth leading cause of death in the US alone.

Studies have shown that every 66 seconds, someone develops this disease. Moreover, 1 in every 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s. These reasons are more than enough for the affected patient, as well as the family, to pull together to help find any cure or treatment for their loved one. But, in the meantime, patients can use less conventional methods to delay the symptoms.

Green tea can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease

One of the most sought-after non-invasive treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is green tea. Researchers showed that green tea can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease through three mechanisms: by preventing the formation of amyloid plaques, breaking down existing plaques, and creating critical and new neurons in the brain.

According to researchers, the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content found in green tea helps in stopping the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques are considered by scientists as the prime suspects in tissue loss and cell death in the brain, especially for Alzheimer’s patients. It was discovered that the EGCG can effectively interfere with the function of beta-amyloid oligomers. Beta-amyloid oligomers are said to cause the inflammation in the brain, which is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, studies have suggested that these beta-amyloid proteins can make a major contribution in acquiring the disease. The proteins are said to stick together messing up the communication of nerve cells.

The study: Who conducted it and how it came about

Giuseppe Melacini took the lead in the study of the efficacy of green tea in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. A member of the Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Biology at McMaster University in Canada, he and other colleagues submitted their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The researchers, being seasoned in their respective fields, used a state-of-the-art facility in conducting their study. In fact, they used a nuclear magnetic resonance to make sure they have a clear picture of the EGCG. The technology enabled them to link the relationship and effect of EGCG to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Melacini’s group explained that tiny binding molecules called beta-amyloid monomers form beta-amyloid oligomers. Eventually, these oligomers clump together. As they clump together, they can form harmful beta-amyloid plaques.

How Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) in green tea helps Alzheimer’s disease patients

This is where the EGCG content in green tea comes in. Based on Melacini and his colleague’s findings, the EGCG in green tea helps in remodeling the supposed formation of lethal plaques. Melacini explains that EGCG conceals the toxic oligomers. Additionally, it changes the way these oligomers grow and communicate with other cells.

This is actually not the first time that EGCG has been believed to help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. There have been studies in the past that suggest this idea; however, there were not enough findings. The research conducted by Melacini has supported the previous studies of other scientists. However, it did not just support other scientists’ hypothesis, it also explained the mystery behind the mechanisms of how these oligomers contribute to the worsening of the condition in Alzheimer's cases.

However, according to Melacini, there was a difficulty in delivering EGCG to the brain directly. So, further research needs to be conducted to address this issue.

Melacini encouraged the people that even if there are no cures for the disease yet, it can be well-prevented. He placed a huge emphasis on early intervention as it will be difficult to battle Alzheimer’s, especially if the symptoms are already manifesting. An effective preventive method would be using green tea extracts or its by-products. He suggested that as early as 15 to 25 years before any symptoms are felt, you should start drinking green tea.

Green tea can also hold Off mental degeneration

To those that are already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most visible symptoms is mental degeneration. A working memory may no longer be evident in Alzheimer patients. However, there could be methods to hold off the speedy degeneration of the brain. This is through drinking green tea. 

In a research finding published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, green tea may hold several benefits for the brain. This is on top of the cardiovascular benefits it can give because of its high levels of antioxidants, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health. The study made use of data collected from 957 Chinese adults from ages 55 and up.

The data collected from almost a thousand participants showed that there was a 86 percent lower risk of cognitive decline for adults who made a habit of drinking tea. The adults who consumed tea regularly were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of having mental degeneration. The researchers have already accounted other factors that may affect the study, such as existing medical conditions, physical activity, and other factors. The analysis remained even after other elements are factored in.

The study made a great emphasis on tea that came from tea leaves, for instance, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. These teas are said to contain beneficial compounds like catechins, L–theanine, theaflavins, and thearubigins. However, the healthiest choice suggested by researchers is green tea because of its high concentration of polyphenosis.

What components of green tea are responsible for giving benefits

According to Feng Lei, the lead investigator of the study, these compounds display anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant potential. It also contains bioactive properties. These substances aid in protecting the brain from any damages such as neurodegeneration, which is quite common for Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea catechins or also known as polyphenol antioxidants help find oxygen-free radicals. It restores the cells, therefore reducing any inflammation. Green tea can also lessen cognitive impairments. Scientists have called this property an effective protector of the brain neurons. Polyphenols from green tea are known to promote the repair of damaged DNA. DNA damage has been linked to cause cancer. Restoring the DNA that has been damaged may just save a person from having cancer. The EGCG has been found out to cause cell death in prostate cancer.

Green tea does not just help in battling Alzheimer’s disease. It can also address a plethora of diseases, such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, obesity, and other forms of dementia.

Green tea may be a simple inexpensive way of battling Alzheimer’s disease, but with more studies linking the tea’s effect to the disease, this simple tea may be channeling a worldwide breakthrough. The study does not just welcome the idea of curing the disease, but it can also entertain the idea that the effects of the disease may be reversed. A simple medication does not always equate to a result. Sometimes, it can lead to a great discovery such as drinking green tea to cure or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.