April 11, 2011

Green Tea + Tai Chi = Healthy Bones

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Green tea combined with a fitness activity known as tai chi may improve bone health and reduce inflammation in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.

Dr. Chwan-Li Shen, an associate professor and a researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has spent over two decades studying how Eastern lifestyle traditions may benefit Westerners.

In her most recent research, Shen studied 171 postmenopausal women who had weak bones. She looked at the effects of green tea polyphenols (GTP) combined with tai chi -- a traditional Chinese form of moderately intense aerobic activity that employs the mind-body philosophy.

The participants were divided into four groups: a "Placebo" group that received starch pills and no tai chi; a "GTP" group that received green tea polyphenols (500 mg/day) and no tai chi; a "Placebo + TC" group that received a starch pill and tai chi (3 times a week); and a "GTP + TC" group that received green tea polyphenols and tai chi.

Results showed consumption of GTP at a level equivalent to about 4-6 cups of green tea per day and participation in tai chi independently enhanced markers of bone health by three and six months. A similar effect was found for muscle strength after six months. Participants taking tai chi classes also reported significant beneficial effects in quality of life and improved emotional and mental health. GTP and tai chi also had a substantial effect on biological markers of oxidative stress, which is a precursor to inflammation.

SOURCE: Experimental Biology Meeting, April 10, 2011