Several scientific studies in recent years have found that green tea has beneficial effects in preventing certain types of cancer, heart disease and other maladies. Now, a study by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have found that three metabolites in green tea can stimulate bone formation in rats and help slow the breakdown of their bones.
The researchers discovered the bone-enhancing effect of the tea in a study that looked at three chemicals called catechins. They found that one of the catechins appears to “improve osteoporotic condition by inhibiting progressive bone loss” that occurs in the common bone disease osteoporosis.
This catechin, known as EGC, boosted the activity of an enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent and boosted levels of bone mineralization in cells, further strengthening the bones. It also blocked the activity of a cell that breaks down bone material.
Though not tested yet in humans, “our study has provided the first laboratory evidence on the bone promotion effects of the green tea catechin EGC,” the scientists wrote in their study, which appears in the current issue of the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “Our observations would serve as groundwork for further studies.”
Jim Dawson reports for Inside Science News Service, which is supported by the American Institute of Physics, a not-for-profit publisher of scientific journals.