Green tea may improve bone health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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New evidence shows that ingredients in green tea could improve bone health by promoting growth of new bones, and slowing bone destruction. The findings, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggest that green tea could be used as a treatment for osteoporosis. Green tea could also be used for prevention of bone loss.

Researchers from Hong Kong have pinpointed the exact chemical in green tea that could improve bone health. Past studies suggest that green tea can prevent osteoporosis, but the mechanism has been poorly understood.

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Ping Chung Leung and colleagues cultured osteoblasts (cells that make bones) in the lab, exposing the cells to epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) – all ingredients found in green tea.

The scientists found that EGC in green tea stimulated levels of a key enzyme responsible for bone growth as much as 79 percent. They also found that EGC increased bone mineral density that makes bones stronger and reduces pain and fracture risk.

Green tea could improve bone health by blocking the action of osteoclasts that break down bone minerals, causing decreased bone mass and osteoporosis, another finding of the new study. Green tea has been shown to benefit health in a variety of ways that include cancer and heart disease prevention. Green tea is a natural, non-toxic means to better health that could also lead to stronger, healthier bones.

J. Agric. Food Chem: DOI: 10.1021/jf901545u

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