September 22, 2009

Green tea may aid bone health

Hong Kong researchers suggest green tea contains chemicals that slow bone breakdown.

Ping Chung Leung of Institute of Chinese Medicine at the

Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells -- osteoblasts -- to three major green tea components -- epigallocatechin, gallocatechin and gallocatechin gallate -- for several days.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found one of the three compounds they tested, epigallocatechin, also boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent.

The study also found high concentrations of epigallocatechin blocked the activity of a type of cell known as an osteoclast that breaks down or weakens bones. The researchers also said they could not find epigallocatechin causing any toxic effects to the bone cells.