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Green Tea Stops Lipid Peroxidation and Thereby Improves Brain Health

Lipid peroxidation is a process where free radicals destroy the lipids that make up the cell membranes of many tissues in the body, including those of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. A group of nutrients called anti-oxidants are thought by scientists to neutralize these free radicals, thereby slowing down the process of lipid peroxidation and protecting the body’s cells.

Green Tea Stops Lipid Peroxidation and Thereby Improves Brain Health

Green Tea Stops Lipid Peroxidation and Thereby Improves Brain Health

Green tea is an excellent source of anti-oxidants and studies have shown that treatment with green tea can in fact prevent lipid peroxidation. For example, in a study published in 2004, researchers found that laboratory rats had far lower levels of lipid peroxidation byproducts in their brains and nerves after being given green tea for five weeks. This indicates that the free radicals in the bodies of these rats were either inhibited or neutralized by the green tea.   The researchers also found higher levels of several products of healthy brain function in rats who had been given green tea.

For more than ten years, scientists have been aware of green tea’s ability to halt the process of lipid peroxidation. And since this process is something that has a degenerative effect on brain tissue, it is significant that several earlier reports confirm green tea’s ability to halt the progress of lipid peroxidation.

For example, a report published in 1994 compared the effectiveness of four different green tea anti-oxidants in preventing lipid peroxidation in mice.  The report found that each of these four anti-oxidants, which form a group known as catechins, was at least somewhat effective in preventing lipid peroxidation. However, one catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) was especially effective. This compound also happens to be the most prevalent compound in green tea. More importantly, it should be noted that EGCg is found in much greater quantities in whole green tea leaves than in brewed green tea – as much as 100 times greater according to a report by the USDA.

Another study published in 1996 came to similar results in the comparison of the same four catechins from green tea. This study found EGCg to be the most effective, although all of green tea catechins were effective to some extent.  In this study, lipid peroxidation was induced in the nerve endings of laboratory rats using supplementation of iron. Once again, catechins from green tea—and EGCg in particular—slowed down the process of lipid peroxidation, thereby protecting nervous tissue similar to that of the human brain. This was accomplished by neutralizing free radicals called hydroxyl radicals which have a corrosive effect on nerve cells such as those in the brain and spinal cord.

All of these findings are very encouraging since catechins and EGCg are so easy to add into the diet in the form of green tea, especially when it is used in its whole leaf form in cooking. By consuming even small amounts of green tea, the body is able to protect itself more fully from the deterioration of nervous system tissues resulting from disease or even normal aging.

We invite you to re-post this recipe on your own web site with the following hyper-linked attribution
“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”


1] http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0944711304701075
2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-3835(94)90063-9
3] http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/flav.pdf
4] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0005-2760(96)00122-1

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