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Another Reason To Sip Green Tea

September 22, 2009
Researchers in Hong Kong are reporting new evidence that green tea may help improve bone health. They found that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown. Their findings are in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. The beverage has the potential to help in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases that affect millions worldwide, the researchers suggest. The scientists exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components—epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG)—for several days. They found that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones. The scientists also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they noted.