Does Tea Prevents Dementia (Alzheimer’s)?
During the early ages, we humans don’t really worry about mental disorders and memory loss. Yet, when we grow older some of us see that our loved grand parents suffer dementia. In extreme situations, this results even in personality changes or impaired reasoning. That’s about the time when you start wondering how you can help or dodge such problems when you grow older.
The above described symptoms can persistent or even chronic. There’s still a lot un-known about dementia. Some medical experts describe it as a disease and are looking for a cure, others simply accept it as a part of growing older. Whatever it is, it’s good to avoid Dementia (or The Alzheimer’s Disease) by adjusting your food and beverage intake starting today! So does tea prevent dementia? Let’s find out! We’ve browsed through lots of research articles to come to an as objective as possible solution.
So Does Tea Prevent Dementia? What Scientists Say
In early studies, such as one published in the Phytotherapy Research in 2014, researchers suggest that tea infusions have biologically active principles to slow the produces of Dementia.
In 2013, researchers published an article in the Behavioural Brain Research journal that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by oxidative stress in the brain. Such stress can be prevented by Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in tea, which works as a neuroprotective compound.
A recent study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry confirms the effects of ECGC in 2016 by studying 13,645 Japanese participants aged 65 or older. The researchers conclude that consumption of green tea significantly reduces the risk of incident dementia.
A recent study by National University of Singapore examined more than 900 Chinese seniors by studying their tea drinking habits during 2003-2005 and then collected information on their cognitive function until 2010. Seniors who consumed 2 or more cups of tea a day reduced their chance of developing mental disorders by 50%. The scientists believe this is due to anti-inflammatory agents in tea.
The question however is whether this will also apply to seniors in other countries? In every country, people have different habits of drinking tea. The Chinese and Japanese steeps loose leaf teas and prepare them slow. Compare this to the Brits making tea from tea bags, and it’s natural to wonder if the results will be the same. Perhaps there’s a ceremonial aspect of preparing tea in Asian countries, which we hypothesise could have mental benefits as well.
Is It Caffeine?
When you drink caffeinated drinks, the mental effect is quite obvious as you’ll enjoy a short term boost. It stimulates the central nervous system, yet it’s less certain that it also helps in the long-term, in other words, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
A published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2009, researchers show that coffee consumption in midlife reduces the risk of Dementia in later life. The results were impressive: people who drank 3-5 cups a day had 65% less risk of Dementia in late-life. However, they didn’t find significant reduction in risk related to drinking tea.
In The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, scientists report in 2015 that they weren’t able to find enough evidence to support the fact that the consumption of tea or coffee could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in late-life.
While many studies performed in Asia show how tea can prevent dementia, Western studies don’t. Could it be that certain lifestyle aspects related to tea are overlooked?
To more strongly confirm the effects of tea on mental disorders researchers need to:
- Perform more studies in different countries to confirm that the effect of tea on Alzheimer’s is consistent across the world.
- Perform longer studies collecting tea drinking habits of participants starting from younger ages. The above studies discussed only hypothesise benefits based on animal studies, or only have human participants who’re already senior.
- Perform studies with more participants.
- Include lifestyle factors such as whether people drink slow loose leaf tea or tea bags, and whether they enjoy tea in an ceremonial way or quick drink.
- To find out whether caffeine is important at all, perform studies with teas with different levels of caffeine.