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Researchers in Hong Kong are reporting new evidence that green tea — one
of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and now available as a dietary
supplement — may help improve bone health. They found that the tea contains a
group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its
breakdown. Their findings are in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. The beverage has the potential to help
in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases that
affect million worldwide, the researchers suggest.
In the new study, Ping Chung Leung and colleagues note that many scientific
studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart
disease, and other conditions. Recent studies in humans and cell cultures
suggest that tea may also benefit bone health. But few scientific studies have
explored the exact chemicals in tea that might be responsible for this effect.
exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major
green tea components — epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and
gallocatechin gallate (GCG) — for several days. They found that one in particular,
EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79
percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the
cells, which strengthens bones. The scientists also showed that high
concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that
breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic
effects to the bone cells, they note .
-- News release courtesy of American Chemical
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