EGCG May Protect Against Memory Loss, Insulin Resistance

Green tea, photo credit: Thinkstock

EGCG, the major polyphenol in green tea, may protect against memory loss and counter some of the harmful effects of high-fat, high-sugar diet, a new study finds.

EGCG may also decrease insulin resistance, which is linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes, according to the study, conducted at the College of Food Science and Engineering, Northwest A&F University in China. “EGCG ameliorates high-fat–and high-fructose–induced cognitive defects by regulating the IRS/AKT and ERK/CREB/BDNF” was published in the FASEB Journal.

The researchers ran a series of experiments on three groups of mice. The first group of mice served as the control, the second group got a fatty-sugary diet similar to that of Western countries, and the third group got a Western diet plus EGCG, according to an article in Inc.

Blackboard with the chemical formula of EGCG, photo credit: Thinkstock

“It turned out that, as expected, the mice eating the high-fat/high-sugar diet were heavier than those eating a regular diet. But they were also significantly heavier than those who’d eaten a high-fat/high-sugar diet that was supplemented with EGCG—in other words, the addition of EGCG seemed to counter the effects of the bad diet,” Alice G. Walton said in an article in Forbes. “The ECGC-consuming mice also performed better in several ways on the Morris water maze, a classic test of cognitive and memory function in rodents.”

Walton added the caveat that the study “definitely isn’t license to eat junk food in the hopes that chasing it with green tea will offset the damage. It’s more an exploration of how powerful the effects of dietary antioxidants can be.”

The researchers stated that: “To our knowledge, this study is the first to provide compelling evidence that the nutritional compound EGCG has the potential to ameliorate HFFD [high-fat, high-fructose diet]-triggered learning and memory loss.”

Xuebo Liu, an author of the study, said in a press release that “the ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combating obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”

Sources: Inc., Forbes, The FASEB Journal