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Tea Compounds May Boost Eye Health...

The antioxidant compounds present in Green Tea and
associated with a myriad of health benefits can penetrate the
tissue of the eye and potentially protect against common eye
diseases, reports an important new study.


Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report that
catechins from tea could be detected in significant amounts in
various eye structures. According to findings published in the Journal
of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the retina of rats absorbed the
highest levels of gallocatechin, while the aqueous humor tended to
absorb epigallocatechin.

Nutritionally-based ingredients recognized for eye health include
antioxidants, including lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin
and bilberry. The demand for such products is increasing as
consumers turn to nutrition to protect against blinding diseases
such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
 
The global human nutrition market for lutein is predicted to increase
by rising demand for eye health supplements from the aging U.S.
population, increasing healthcare costs, more research efforts
backing ingredient benefits, and improvements in technology for
methods of ingredient extraction, said the report.
 
“Although many antioxidants have been studied in the eye, to the
best of our knowledge this is the first study to show distribution
of individual catechins after ingestion of green tea extract and to
evaluate their in vivo antioxidative effects in various parts of the
mammalian eye,” wrote the researchers behind the new study.
 
Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable
polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by
fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent. The four primary
polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are epigallocatechin gallate
(EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin.
 
The researchers fed laboratory subjects green tea and subsequently
analyzed the eye tissues. Catechins were indeed observed in the
eye tissues... “Many studies on the antioxidative effect of green tea
focused on EGCG,” report the researchers. “However, in this study,
we found its tissue level was not high. Gallocatechin, epigallocatechin,
catechin, and epicatechin, on the other hand, sustained high levels

in many compartments.
 
“Although these compounds have a reducing power similar to or
lower than that of EGCG, use of a mixture, such as green tea extract,
was better than use of a single catechin because of lower cost and
synergic effects on antioxidation and bioavailability,” they added.
 
“Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the
eye against oxidative stress,” concluded the researchers.
 
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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