Green Tea Benefits Your Memory – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 500

Green Tea Benefits Your Memory – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 500

Green Tea Benefits Your Benefit – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 500

Hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.

*Intro music*

InVite Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InVite Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InVite Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!

*Intro music*

Jerry Hickey, Ph.:

[00:00:40] Green tea has many constituents in it that have a whole wide array of benefits, and later on during the program, during this episode, I’ll tick off some of the benefits of green tea. But today, I’m going to focus on green tea and its benefits for your memory.† [00:00:58]

[00:00:59] So many years ago, I saw this very interesting study. They took young, healthy women in their mid-twenties and they gave them a green tea beverage. Now it was minus the methylxanthines. Methylxanthines are caffeine-related substances, so they had removed any stimulants. It was just the green tea polyphenols. There’s a whole slew of these polyphenols, and they’re really responsible for a remarkable number of the benefits bestowed by consuming green tea. So they gave these young, healthy women a green tea beverage, and… I can’t even find the study now because it was like 20 years ago. It’s buried in a million other studies. But they gave these women the green tea beverage, and they were doing functional MRIs, and they saw parts of their brain that were involved with focus and attention span and taking in information quickly lit up. And when they did all different tests, their brain was functioning better. So then they doubled the dosage of green tea, and once again, it’s minus the stimulants. It’s just the polyphenols in this case. And they found the brain even work better.† [00:02:11]

[00:02:13] So what’s in the green tea that’s so good for you? Well, a cup of green tea is a little different than the green tea tinctures and capsules. In a cup of green tea, you typically get the methylxanthines. These are a bunch of things that are related to caffeine, and they help the brain focus so they wake the brain up. They’re not terrible, and there’s less of them than you get in a cup of coffee, and they’re mostly theophylline and theobromine, which really are pretty good for focus and attention. And then there’s kind of this very unique amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is soothing and calming without making you fall asleep. It takes away feelings of stress. You can’t get rid of what’s causing the stress, perhaps, but you could get rid of the terrible consequences where the brain just doesn’t feel good. And that lowers the stress hormones because stress hormones are no good for the immune system and stress hormones happen to be fattening. We’ve done a podcast episode on that. But so, the, the EGCG and the other polyphenols are in there and they’re just great for your brain. And there’s been a large collection of studies accruing on green tea in the brain. I’ll go over some of those today.† [00:03:23]

[00:03:25] So welcome to my episode. Green tea benefits your memory. My name is Jerry Hickey. I’m a nutritional pharmacist. I’m also the Senior Scientific Officer over here at InVite Health. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or just visit invitehealth.com/podcast. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at InVite Health. Now, all of the information on today’s podcast episode is linked at the episode description. I really want to get going with this.† [00:03:54]

[00:03:56] So green tea, when I make like our tinctures and our capsules, I get all the green tea polyphenols in there. They’re a type of flavanols. They’re really called catechins. You’ll find different catechins in apples. You’ll find other catechins concentrated in cocoa. There’s about 20 catechins that we know of in green tea. The major one is EGCG. That EGCG is largely responsible for most of the benefits that come from green tea. But there’s an entourage effect. The other 19 or 20 or so polyphenols improve the function of the EGCG so that EGCG is more beneficial when it’s in the company of the other polyphenols. So you have to make sure if you get a green tea product, not only is it loaded with EGCG, but you get the other green tea polyphenols because they amplify the benefits of the green tea.† [00:04:52]

[00:04:55] So there was a study done at the School of Public Health, University of Indiana. It’s published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. I love that journal. And it’s a crossover study. A crossover study I love because there’s real value to that. A crossover study, they give half the study subjects the thing they’re actually studying and the other half get placebo. Placebo is something that really isn’t supposed to have any effects, but you have to gauge that because you have to take away the effects of the brain on the results, right? So in a crossover study, half the people get placebo, half the people, in this case, got the green tea product. Then they switched them. They have a washout period to get rid of the effects of the placebo if there is any and the effects of the green tea and then they switch them over. So the people who before got the placebo are now getting the green tea and vice versa. And when you see that switcheroo, you can really see that something works. It’s just like an added level of, of evidence. So these were people between the age of 21 to 29 and people between the age of 50 to 63. And they found, especially in older women, the green tea improved their brain function. It improved their working memory. Now, working memory are things you’re using to get, to get at what you’re trying to get done right now. And that’s kind of like the first part of the memory that goes in Alzheimer’s.† [00:06:30]

[00:06:33] Now this was decaffeinated green tea. So this is an important point. If they decaffeinate green tea, they also removed the polyphenols because the polyphenols are water soluble. Caffeine’s water soluble, so they just rinse out the caffeine. They lose the polyphenols. These are the good things to things that are good for the brain. So in a product like ours, we take all the polyphenols and we super concentrate them and put them back in the green tea, minus the stimulants. So that’s what you want. If you get a decaffeinated green tea, you want to make sure the polyphenols are in there, especially the EGCG, but you want the other polyphenols too. They have names similar to EGCG like they might be just called ECG or EGC. Now, so, University of Indiana School of Public Health in older women, the green tea really helped them. In younger women, it lit up their brain. It was helpful, but not the same because in older women, it’s actually improving their memory.† [00:07:33]

[00:07:35] So here’s a look at green tea versus different levels of memory loss. So let’s kind of look at the three different levels of memory loss. There’s mild cognitive impairment, which is nothing. It’s just a regular level of forgetfulness and absentmindedness you see in older people. For instance, they start to do something in the kitchen like rinse out some glasses and then they go do something else and they forget to finish up what’s going on in the kitchen. They see it 20 minutes later and they go, “Oh, let me finish that.” Or maybe they normally put their keys in a special place and last night they came home and they didn’t put it there, and they don’t know where they put their keys. This is more common in older people. Yeah, can happen to anybody, especially when you’re busy or distracted, but in older people that could be calm, they could be alone and they could be rested and it still happens. And it’s not just once in a while. But that’s not a big deal. Subjective memory loss is kind of like, if I said to my wife, “I’m losing my memory,” and my wife turns around and says, “No, you’re not, you’re just a little tired.” So subjective memory loss is normal. It’s not a disease. It’s not Alzheimer’s. It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s like when you see that 83-year-old Shakespearean actor on stage and in the middle of his line, he forgets what he’s going to say. And that’s OK. I mean, you just saw a senior moment. It actually happened to a friend of mine who was playing in a Shakespearean play in any event. And he turned around and he said to the audience, “Folks, you’ve just witnessed a senior moment.” And he said they all broke into just hysterical, hysterical laughter.† [00:09:12]

[00:09:13] So mild subjective memory loss, not a big deal, but mild cognitive impairment. That’s, that, that’s, that is a big deal. In mild cognitive impairment, the brain is struggling. And it seems that like a lack of B, B12 and Vitamin D and fish oils increases the risk of mild cognitive impairment. So the brain, you’re just not getting it. Like something that’s hard to understand, a complex thing, like you bought a new cell phone and you’re having trouble figuring it out or you got a new stereo system or a new, a new cable system, and you can’t figure it out, whatever, that’s mild cognitive impairment. If it’s true mild cognitive impairment, you’re more than likely to drift into Alzheimer’s disease. And there’s Alzheimer’s disease itself, which, you know, I mean, you don’t… You look in a mirror, you don’t even know who you are. You don’t even remember who your kids are. I mean, that’s serious. How serious going to get, right?† [00:10:06]

[00:10:08] So this is the journal Nutrients. And it’s Suntory World Research, they have a fortune, they set up this great research institution in Tokyo, and they’re looking those green tea help with cognitive impairment. Does it help with subjective memory loss? Does it help with Alzheimer’s? Does it help with mild cognitive impairment? So it was a cohort study. A cohort study is very valuable. They take a huge population of people and they look at everything, their health, how they eat, how they exercise, what drugs they have, blah blah blah blah. And they follow them and they see what comes out of the study over time. And in the cohort study, they saw that green tea reduced the risk of developing all dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease and green tea, reduced the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which is the prodromal stage before you go into Alzheimer’s. So if you get mild cognitive impairment, chances are you going to develop Alzheimer’s. But it also was helping prevent subjective memory loss, so that was like a real benefit there. I mean, that’s for everybody, in other words. But they also grouped in along with the cohort study, three cross-sectional studies. So I always… I already explained what they were. Some people are on a placebo, some were on the green tea, and then it’s vice versa. So that gives a more powerful level of evidence that something’s working. And in all three cross-sectional studies, green tea was good for the memory. It protected the memory of aging people.† [00:11:40]

[00:11:42] So here’s the journal Phytomedicine. Phytomedicine means plant medicine. It’s King’s College London, which is an excellent academic research institution, and the University of Basel, which is in Switzerland, which is also an excellent research institution. Now they reviewed 21 human clinical trials and the first thing they said is these are good studies. They are well-performed. They’re well-designed. They’re well-reported. There’s no risk of bias. These are 21 studies. That’s called a meta analysis. When you get to that level, it proves something either works or it doesn’t work. Here’s what they found. Green tea improved anxiety. Now anxiety is different than stress. Stress is, “I feel stressed out because my kid did poorly on his math test.” Anxiety is more like fear of a future event. Like some people have fears of, of socializing. Other people have fears of, believe it or not, crossing a bridge over water. Other people have fears of heights. Other people have fears of the dark. Other people have fears of dogs. Other people have fears of leaving the house. They’re all forms of anxiety. Like when you were a kid and you didn’t do well on a test and you had to bring it home and show your parents on a Friday and you didn’t want to show them on Friday because they might ground you or ruin your weekend. So you showed them to them on Sunday night and you were anxious all weekend about showing them that. That’s anxiety. Did I ever do that? I’m an angel. Now, green tea improved anxiety. Green tea benefited memory. Twenty-one human clinical trials King’s College London and the University of Basel. Green tea benefited memory, green tea improved attention span and focus. But under MRIs, functional MRIs, watching the places where the brain lit up, green tea really improved brain function, how quickly the brain could take in information, how calm the brain was, how well memory structures were functioning. It really meant something.† [00:13:52]

[00:13:54] Now I’ll tell you some other studies that are protective with green tea. But this has to do with Alzheimer’s, but they’re not human studies. We’ve known for years that green tea is one of the things that breaks down amyloids. There’s different diseases where amyloid builds up. Amyloid is a type of nasty protein, and when it forms a chain, when it glues together, it’s very destructive. So, for instance, people with African-Caribbean heritage tend to get amyloid building up in their heart. That leads to heart failure. You don’t see it really in other ethnic groups. But there are different forms of amyloid that go into the brain, which we call Alzheimer’s disease. Forms of beta amyloid build up in the brain. Beta amyloid is involved with structures in the brain. But certain people can’t kick out the beta amyloid. It’s the glymphatic system, it’s the brain’s waste removal system, that’s not functioning well and the amyloid stays in the brain. And what happens? A bunch of molecules of amyloid glue together, they bond together with covalent bonds, the strongest bonds in chemistry. So they glue together and they form a chain and the chain becomes really poisonous to the brain. It becomes toxic and it starts to damage the nerve tissue in the brain. That’s called a tauopathy, and that’s the destruction you see in Alzheimer’s disease. So many, many, many years ago, university of California, Los Angeles, UCLA has these centers of excellence for studying the aging brain and Alzheimer’s. Many years ago, they looked at like 28,000, 28,000 different substances that can help break down the plaque in the brain. And they found the following. They found some very exotic, unique, extremely rare substances that it’s just not happening, but commonly turmeric, you know, the curcumin ingredient that’s in curry, that helps break down the plaque. Fish oils helps break down the plaque. A supplement called N-acetylcysteine helps break down the plaque. And green tea helps break down the plaque. And green tea works better for breaking down the plaque when it’s in the presence of fish oils. So there’s been studies showing for decades that green tea may have some preventative effect against Alzheimer’s disease.† [00:16:23]

[00:16:24] So here’s the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. It’s the cancer prevention labs at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, but also a whole bunch of researchers from different academic research institutions throughout China. And they’re looking at mice that naturally develop severe memory loss. They kind of develop Alzheimer’s. And they gave them green tea for 8 to 16 weeks. Now, in the life of an old mouse, they only live two years, 16 weeks is a tremendous amount of time. Green tea actually improved learning in different kinds of mazes. So these very elderly mice that were losing their memory, that were getting a buildup of plaque in their brain that’s similar to human adult Alzheimer’s disease, giving them green tea in their chow, improved learning in various mazes. But sadly, after they passed away, postmortem, they looked at their brain and the green tea was breaking down the plaque. The Alzheimer’s plaque. And it was preventing a loss of synaptic regions. So what’s that all about? In your gray matter, where your memory takes place, the nerves have to connect somehow. They connect with these structures called synapses. Synapses, the synaptic region, and they disappear in Alzheimer’s disease. So the brain can’t communicate. There goes your memory, there goes your judgment and your attention span, etc. But the green tea was preserving the synaptic integrity.† [00:18:00]

[00:18:01] So here’s a journal called Neuroscience Letters. It’s Minzu University in Beijing. We used to call it Peking when I was a kid, but now it’s Beijing, and that’s OK. Green tea prevented beta amyloid from poisoning memory brain cells in rats. So same kind of dea,l it was somewhat protective from Alzheimer’s. And here’s the Journal of Molecules. Now we’re going over to Japan, the University of Shizuoka. We read a lot of research from them on our radio programs. Several human studies show that green tea helps reduce memory loss and even prevents memory loss. Green tea breaks down the A-beta, the beta amyloid, that builds up in the brain in Alzheimer’s, and reduces the alpha synuclein that builds up in different forms of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. And green tea works as an antioxidant in the brain, reducing inflammation in the brain, so older people really need to be sipping some green tea.† [00:18:58]

[00:18:58] But just here… If you’re going to brew green tea, don’t put milk in it. There’s some evidence that milk binds to ingredients that would be good for the brain. Put lemon in it or some other citrus because this protects the ingredients in the green tea and you absorb them better and you absorb more of them, so there’s going to be more in the bloodstream. That means more is going to reach the brain. That means you’re going to get probably a greater level of protection from your green tea. Now, as far as other benefits of green tea, because I promised you, I would say that I would cover that green tea because both green tea builds muscle. If you add green tea to exercise and there’s many studies showing this, I have at least 20 of the, it builds thicker, stronger bones that are more fracture-resistant. In fact, there’s other studies that people who habitually sup on green tea have a much lower incidence of hip fractures and have stronger bones. Green tea builds more muscle with exercise. If you do enough green tea before exercise your build more muscle, you’ll burn more fat. You’ll get your blood sugar under better control and you’ll build thicker, stronger bones. So green tea has additive effects that further improve the benefits of exercise. So you can’t go wrong because what’s one of the best things in the world? Getting exercise. Green tea, besides building bone, has been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks. That’s according to Harvard Medical School and strokes. That’s according to Yale University Medical School. But a lot of other places, too. There’s many studies showing this. Green tea fights viruses, a whole bunch of them like the common cold and the flu and possibly coronaviruses, including COVID-19. It might make them a little bit weaker because it inhibits the very enzymes that these viruses depend on to infect you. So there’s a lot of other benefits of green tea.† [00:20:52]

[00:20:52] There’s a number of studies that in aging people, green tea helps prevent fragility syndrome. Fragility syndrome is described in different ways in different cultures, but it’s generally you’re becoming inactive, so you’re just sitting behind a table all day. The TV’s watching you, you’re not watching the TV. You’re becoming not social anymore. You’re not talking, really. You’re not interacting with people. You’re shrinking, you’re losing your muscle. All those diseases crawl into your life when that happens, like heart failure and arthritis and Alzheimer’s. So there’s a number of studies showing green tea is one of the things that helps prevent fragility and improves the aging process. And it’s even involved with longevity. And there’s a whole bunch of different reasons for that. We probably have about 5 or 10 podcasts now on green tea dealing with different things. You should check them out because there’s also evidence that green tea, to a degree, helps protect women’s breast tissue, protects the colon and helps protect men’s prostate, so there’s a lot to say about green tea, but certainly green tea really seems to be good for your brain.† [00:21:55]

[00:21:55] How much? Ten cups of green tea is too much. You know, there’s always a limit to how much you should have of anything. So I would do five or six cups a day, like we have a concentrated capsule that’s about three and a half cups. And we have the squirt of green tea in this little glass bottle. Every squirt’s like a big American-sized cup of green tea. I think three to six cups of green tea a day is like optimal. One or two is good. Three is better. You don’t need to go over six. Going over six, I don’t think there’s any additional benefit. And going over 10, it starts to get negative, just like anything that’s, that’s good for you. Too much water, you drown, right? I mean, come on. OK, so three, four cups of green tea a day is great for your brain. Great for your immune system. Great for your heart. Great for men’s prostates. Protective for women’s breasts. Good for the colon. I mean, it does a lot of things. Interestingly, green tea ignores your good, healthy bacteria, but it doesn’t like problematic bacteria, so that’s another benefit of green tea.† [00:22:59]

[00:23:00] So in any event, thank you for listening to today’s podcast episode. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or just visit invitehealth.com/podcast. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @invitehealth. Thanks for listening! Please subscribe and leave us a review. If you do, listen and I hope to see you next time in another episode of the InVite Health Podcast. Jerry Hickey, signing off.† [00:23:00]

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