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Green Tea helps fight Alzheimer's - new study

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By David Liu, Ph.D. and edited by aimee keenan-greene

Tuesday July 5, 2011 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in the June 2011 issue of Food Chemistry suggests drinking green tea may help prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Green tea is found high in an antioxidative phytochemical known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate or in short EGCG, which previous studies have found also protects against cancer among other things.

The current study, led by B.S. Harveya of the University of Adelaide in South Australia and colleagues, found EGCG was able to inhibit amyloid-β fibril formation and aggregation.  Amyloid-β is believed to be the building block for the plaques linked to Alzheimer's disease.

In this study researchers tested EGCG and other antioxidants in PC cells.  "PC 12 cell is a cell line derived from a pheochromocytoma of the rat adrenal medulla," Wikipedia states.

Both EGCG and a grape skin extract were able to significantly decreased the amyloid-β triggered neurotoxicity by 40 percent, but only EGCG was found to block amyloid fibril formation and aggregation.

The findings suggest EGCG protects neural cells by inhibiting the amyloid fibril formation, the researchers concluded.

Another new study, reported on Foodconsumer.org last month, shows plant-based flavonoids like EGCG and luteolin were able to improve in-vitro some biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease.

That study, led by Natasa Dragicevic of University of South Florida and colleagues, found EGCG and luteolin very effective in correcting amyloid-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.

Other phytochemicals that also inhibit amyloid fibril formation in vitro include resveratrol., tannic acid, curcumin, rosmarinic acid, wine related polyphenols, and epicatechin gallate, according to a review authored by Ehud Gazit and colleagues of Tel Aviv Univesity in Israel and published in 2008 in Chemical Biology & Drug Design.

An estimated 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease - a disease without cure, according to the U.S. government.  Research suggests a person's lifestyle and diet may have an effect on the risk of the disease.

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