Pass the Tea for Your Brain Health

 

          Honestly, this is not shocking.  Multiple studies have already revealed a list of benefits from tea drinking.  In this case, researchers from the National University of Singapore reported what appear to be beneficial structural changes in the brain of human subjects who drink tea on a near daily basis.  Prior studies had focused on neuropsychological testing but not actual structural or functional imaging techniques.  Those prior studies mostly indicated positive changes which were the result of combinations of ingredients found in tea rather than single ingredients in isolation. 

            Without causing your eyes to cross attempting to explain the testing methods, let me summarize a few findings.  Structural imaging showed that particular regions of the subjects’ brains had increased connectivity after the testing period of tea consumption.  On the other hand, functional connectivity did not show a corresponding increase. Several theories for the difference were offered.

            The asymmetry between left and right brain halves (hemispheres) was found to be less in the tea consuming subjects.  Higher asymmetry (differences) correlates with ageing brain function in multiple other studies.

            The final change reported between the test groups addressed connectivity in the Default Mode Network.  The short explanation is that this is a network of nerve cells serving a baseline brain function.  In this case, some functional connections were strengthened, while others were weakened.

            Overall, we have a long way to go in fully understanding and applying these findings.  For now, with the other studies supporting tea intake as a neuro-protective therapy, we can advise most patients to consider 1-3 cups of green or black tea per day (hold the sweetener).  A simple way for functional medicine doctors like myself to help patients aim a healthier more abundant life in the later years.

 

Original Article:  Junhua Li, Rafael Romero-Garcia, John Suckling, Lei Feng. Habitual tea drinking modulates brain efficiency: evidence from brain connectivity evaluation. Aging, 2019; 11 (11): 3876 DOI: 10.18632/aging.102023

 

Thanks to Science Daily:

National University of Singapore. “Drinking tea improves brain health, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190912100945.htm>.

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