Green Tea May Have Brain Healing Properties

Green Tea May Have Brain Healing PropertiesBy Sayer Ji

An exciting new study published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications reveals that green tea may have powerful brain healing properties, especially when it comes to preventing and perhaps even treating so-called ‘incurable’ neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Titled, “Green tea catechins potentiate the neuritogenic action of brain-derived neurotrophic factor: role of 67-kDa laminin receptor and hydrogen peroxide,” the paper set out to explore green tea’s potential for increasing the activity of a nerve growth factor known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), essential for the growth, maintenance and survival of neurons:

     “Delivery of optimal amounts of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to
regions of the brain affected by neurodegenerative diseases is a daunting task.
Using natural products with neuroprotective properties, such as green tea
polyphenols, would be a highly useful complementary approach for inexpensive
long-term treatment of these diseases.”


The researchers pointed out that increasing the production of BDNF in the brain is one approach worth pursuing, but that another “complementary approach” is “to potentiate the action of limited amounts of BDNF present in affected regions of the brain,” and that green tea may offer just that enhancement tool.

The main perceived barrier to using EGCG in neurological problems, however, is that only very low levels are believed capable of reaching the brain.  Due to this limiting factor, the study also set out to ascertain what concentration ranges might produce a physiologically relevant effect in the brain.

Using a cell model, the researchers chose a type of neuron which expresses a high affinity receptor (TrkB) for BDNF known as PC12(TrkB) cells. These cells, “differentiate and induce neurite outgrowth in response to BDNF.”  A neurite is any projection from the cell body of a neuron, usually either an axon or a dendrite.

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