Green tea has become an international mainstay beyond the Orient.   Many observational studies have shown that green tea is full of potent polyphenols (an antioxidant) that lower the risk of several chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis.  A recent study from Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie)  Shen, an associate professor and a researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center looked at the mechanism behind this correlation and believes it may have to do with lowering chronic levels of inflammation.

Dr. Shen has developed an animal model to study  green tea consumption and its protective effect on the breakdown of the bone's microarchitecture.  In humans, this can lead to osteoporosis, a condition common in postmenopausal women.  In her most recent study, she investigated the potential for green tea to work synergistically with tai chi, a moderately aerobic exercise popular among Chinese cultures.  Together, can these two interventions enhance bone strength?

Her randomized controlled study (the gold standard) included 171 postmenopausal women (average age was 57) who had weak bones but not full fledged osteoporosis.  They were divided into 4 groups:

  • Placebo (starch pill) and no tai chi
  • Green tea polyphenols (GTP)  and no tai chi (TC)
  • Placebo and tai chi
  • GTP plus TC

Blood and urine samples were collected on all women for 6 months and muscle strength assessed..

The GTP + TC group showed enhanced markers of bone health and muscle strength at 3 and 6 months.   Of greatest interest was the Dr. Shen's finding that both GTP and TC had on biological markers of oxidative stress, the precursor to inflammation.  Inflammation is not only a factor in osteoporosis but other chronic diseases as well.  Her findings were presented in a poster at the Experimental biology meetings in April.   Further studies are needed to confirm and better understand the mechanisms involved.

In the meantime, drinking green tea and trying tai chi sounds like a good idea, especially for premenopausal women!

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Comments

Thank you for this information this is very helpful I do take green tea on occasion thinking it would be helping with bowel and stomach problems in the future. I was unaware that it could also help with the development of bone disease also.

This IS great news, particularly if you're a big fan of tai chi and green tea (which I know many women who already are).

Very interesting article! It is interesting to see the research behind the correlation of inflammation and osteoporosis.

Thanks for sharing great info about green tea - that it is good for health.

"Of greatest interest was the Dr. Shen’s finding that both GTP and TC had on biological markers of oxidative stress, the precursor to inflammation. Inflammation is not only a factor in osteoporosis but other chronic diseases as well." Your information about osteoporosis is helpful to my 80 year old aunt! And it concerns me as an aging female!

nice post and good article, it's very useful actually for relaxation

I see lots of things here but the article at the top is great. I also try and tell more people about the power of green tea. I drink it everyday, and many people should. I even taught me some things that i didn't know it could do. So this proves it is more powerful than even i originally thought... Thanks, and keep up the good work!

This is something I had not heard of. I knew of green tea's many health benefits, I did not know it helps women with osteoporosis. Ill include that bit of info in my blog!

It would be interesting to see long term studies with these women compared to those women taking a medication designed to decrease or reverse bone loss and see who had the greater results. So glad we are moving beyond oystershell calcium pills, to some more valuable treatments

Great article thanks for sharing love green tea and it's anti-oxidant effects with the use of Tai Chi sounds really beneficial!

There are so many positive things that people in the West are discovering about green tea and other Asian medicinal herbs. Because Asian medicine does not separate health/disease/spirit/body as sharply as the West's disease-and-germ-focus (which is not a bad thing, of course, just compare national life expectancies), there are many things about Asian medicine that the West may not discover until it accepts a compatibility between spirituality and science. Making your own green tea at home is actually supposed to be much more potent and healthier, and I think there is a spiritual benefit to growing the plant at home and making the tea yourself. I haven't done the studies myself, but it makes sense to me.

Making your own green tea at home is actually supposed to be much more potent and healthier, and I think there is a spiritual benefit to growing the plant at home and making the tea yourself. I haven’t done the studies myself, but it makes sense to me.Really they are done his nice job and we are thankfull to him.

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