Green tea boosts memory, according to a new study conducted at the University of Basel. Participants in the study who drank a beverage with 27 grams of green tea extract performed better on short-term memory tests than the control group. Moreover, MRI imaging showed unique activation patterns between different lobes of the brain, suggesting that green tea improved the mechanism of recall within the brain itself.
The study, published in the March, 2014 issue of the journal, Psychopharmacology, reported that the consumers of green tea extract evidenced a distinct activation pattern between their frontal and parietal lobes. David DiSalvo, writing about the Swiss study in Forbes, points out that the frontal lobe is regarded as home to higher-order thinking, and the parietal lobe is believed to play a major role in how our brain processes language and sensory inputs. DiSalvo suggests that green tea boosts memory because a key active ingredient in tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), improves the communication between two areas of the brain that play a key role in memory.
EGCG is a type of catechin found in tea polyphenols. Taiyo International offers a highly purified form of polyphenols from green tea in their Sunphenon®product. Tea polyphenols, consisting mostly of tea catechins, account for 20% of the tea leaf and are responsible for the majority of the health benefits of green tea. Tea polyphenols have found wide application in foods, cosmetics, supplements and pharmaceuticals.
The results of the study are preliminary, and the authors of the study cite the need for more research to confirm a link between consumption of green tea and improved memory and cognitive function. Participants consumed green tea extract, which is a highly concentrated form of green tea and the equivalent of many cups of green tea. However, the authors of the study conclude that their research offers a promising methodology for assessing the value of green tea for the treatment of cognitive impairments:
“Our findings further suggest that the assessment of effective connectivity among frontal and parietal brain regions during working memory processing may provide a promising tool to assess the efficacy of green tea or other compounds for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia.”