Ingredients of green tea, especially the polyphenolic compound (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), already have the reputation of being beneficial for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. They also seem to prevent neurodegenerative diseases by a mechanism that has not been completely explained.
Yanyan Wang, Maoquan Li and colleagues, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China, found in in vivo experiments that EGCG improved the spatial cognition of mice. The scientists concluded that these improved cognitive abilities are due to hippocampal neurogenesis, the development of new neurons in the brain, initiated by EGCG. EGCG seems to be involved in important signaling pathways, eventually leading to neurogenesis, the fundamental process for maintaining brain plasticity during a lifetime. Brain plasticity determines the brain’s ability to memorize and learn.
Hence, drinking tea might be the most efficient method to retard dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation and sonic hedgehog pathway activation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis,
Y. Wang, M. Li, X. Xu, M. Song, H. Tao, Y. Bai,
Mol. Nutr. Food. Res. 2012, 56, 1292–1303.