Green tea and Tai Chi boost menopausal bone health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Green tea and Tai Chi
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Green tea polyphenols, Tai Chi work together to prevent osteoporosis

Polyphenols in green tea can help postmenopausal women maintain bone health. Researcher Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen found the combination of green tea and practicing Tai Chi improved markers of bone health for women enrolled in a six-month study.

Dr. Shen, an associate professor and a researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has developed an animal model of postmenopausal women. She is studying female rats without ovaries to learn more about how green tea helps protect from osteoporosis that occurs in postmenopausal women from estrogen decline.

Observational studies

Dr. Chen has studied how Eastern medicine might help those living in Western cultures for two decades. Green tea that is consumed widely in Asia and chronic disease rates differ. Polyphenols in green tea may protect from chronic disease, found in observational studies of people who consume the highest levels of green tea polyphenols.

Green tea/Tai Chi synergy

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In her study, Dr. Chen looked at the synergy that occurs from drinking green tea and practicing Tai Chi. The six-month study focused on postmenopausal women with “weak bones” that had not progressed to osteoporosis.

The women were divided into four groups: Placebo pill, 500 mg of green tea polyphenols and no Tai Chi, placebo plus Tai Chi (3 x a week) and green tea combined with Tai Chi. Muscle strength was assessed during the study and the researchers collected urine and blood samples from the women.

The combination of green tea polyphenols - equivalent to 4 to 6 cups of tea daily - combined with Tai Chi boosted the women's bone health, seen at 3 months and again at 6 months. Muscle strength was also improved at six months as well as mental health. The finding suggests green tea and Tai Chi together could lower the chances of chronic diseases as well as osteoporosis.

The FASEB Journal. 2011;25:594.3
"Effect of green tea polyphenols and Tai Chi exercise on bone health in postmenopausal women with low bone mass: a 24-week placebo-controlled randomized trial"
Chwan-Li Shen, Ming-Chien Chyu, James K Yeh, Yan Zhang, Barbara C Pence, Carol K Felton, Jean-Michel Brismee, Raul Y Dagda, Susan Doctolero, Mary J Flores6 and Jia-Sheng Wang

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