Green Tea, Red Wine and your Brain

A healthy brain with green tea? The brain science of natural medicine

February 13, 2013 By Ruth Buczynski, PhD , http//www.facebook.com/NICABM

It’s always a treat to relax with a cup of green tea. And we’ve known about its health benefits for a while.

But here’s a new one: there’s a chemical found within green tea that might prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of researchers led by Jo Rushworth, PhD, looked at the effects of chemicals found in green tea and red wine on the brain.

Specifically, they were interested in its effects on Alzheimer’s disease.

The key event that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, they noted, was the accumulation of amyloid-beta peptides in the brain. These proteins build up and form toxic balls which latch onto nerve cells, causing them to malfunction.

Researchers hypothesized that changing the shape of these amyloid balls would prevent them from latching onto nerve cells, which would stop the damage.

So they formed amyloid balls in tests tubes, inserted them in human and animal brain cells, and then added extracts from green tea and red wine.

The two extracts they used were epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and resveratrol from red wine.

After the extracts were added, they found something surprising . . .

. . . but promising.

The two extracts re-shaped the amyloid balls, preventing them from causing harm to the brain cells.

So we know that green tea extracts and red wine extracts can be used to prevent some of the biological events that lead to Alzheimer’s disease in a laboratory setting. That’s good news, but it’s a long way away from a therapeutic solution.

While it’s exciting to know that cutting-edge research is finding new ways to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease, we need much more work on the path toward clinical interventions.

For now, we can’t say that drinking red wine or green tea will protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease. But with more research, maybe we’ll have a better sense of how your diet can heal your brain.

If you want to see the full study, it was published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.