Green Tea Aids Memory

CHONGQUING, China

Animal studies testing the ability of mice to run a maze demonstrate an active ingredient in green tea boosts production of neural progenitor cells aiding long- and short-term memory.

Researchers at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China report significant benefits in the brains of mice fed the organic chemical EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) found in green tea.

Lead researcher Yun Bai, citing work published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, said, “We have shown that the organic chemical EGCG acts directly to increase the production of neural progenitor cells. This helps us to understand the potential for EGCG, and green tea which contains it, to help combat degenerative diseases and memory loss.”

Progenitor cells act like stem cells, adapting into various neural functions. “There is emerging evidence that (green tea’s) chemical properties may impact cellular mechanisms in the brain,” said Yun.
Mice that received EGCG and a control group were trained for three days to find a visible platform in a maze. Then they were trained for seven days to find a hidden platform.

The researchers found the EGCG-treated mice needed less time to find the hidden platform.

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Abstract: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Volume 56, Issue 8, pages 1292–1303, August 2012
Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation and sonic hedgehog pathway activation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis, Yanyan Wang1,†, Maoquan Li2,3,†, Xueqing Xu1, Min Song1, Huansheng Tao1, Yun Bai1,*, Article first published online: 13 JUN 2012, DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201200035

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