A new study involving mice reveals that EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), green tea's super ingredient, is even more powerful than we thought. EGCG is the most biologically active component and abundant catechin in green tea, and the new research shows that it may alleviate insulin resistance caused by high-fat and fructose levels, also called HFFD-induced insulin resistance, as well as cognitive impairment.
While earlier research pointed toward the potential EGCG has to treat a range of human diseases, how EGCG might work to fight cognitive deficits and insulin resistance that are triggered in the brain by Western diets was a mystery.
Its widespread use was clear enough: after water, green tea is the most consumed drink worldwide, and it is grown in at least 30 nations. Researcher Xuebo Liu, Ph.D., of Northwest A&F University in China, speculated in press materials: “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”
Liu and the research team tested three groups of 3-month-old male C57BL/6J mice. The groups were separated based on diet: the controls had a standard healthy mouse diet, one experimental group ate an HFFD diet to simulate the American diet, and the third group, also an experimental group, was fed an HFFD diet along with 2 grams of EGCG for every liter of drinking water consumed.
The team monitored the mice for 16 weeks. It was no surprise that those who ate the HFFD diet had higher final body weight than control mice, but they also had significantly higher final body weight than the other control group who consumed HFFD and EGCG.
Cognitive results were also striking. As the mice completed a Morris water maze test, the HFFD and EGCG group outperformed the HFFD group on every measure each day.
Unfortunately, the study lacked the fourth group I wish we'd be able to see: the group with the healthy diet and the EGCG. Would they significantly outperform all three other groups? It seems likely that there might be some difference. In any event, since we all fall down when it comes to diet occasionally, it can't hurt to have EGCG in your brain's corner.