Feeling old and blue? Green tea may help by Joene Hendry, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Elderly men and women who sip on
several cups of green tea a day may be less likely to have the
blues, hint findings of a study from Japan.
Dr. Kaijun Niu, at Tohoku University Graduate School of
Biomedical Engineering in Sendai, and colleagues found men and
women aged 70 and older who drank four or more, versus one or
fewer, cups of green tea daily were 44 percent less likely to have
symptoms of depression.
Several prior studies have linked green tea consumption to
reduced levels of psychological distress. This led Niu and
colleagues to look at associations between drinking green tea and
symptoms of depression in 1,058 relatively healthy elderly
About 34 percent of the men and 39 percent of the women had
symptoms of depression, according to a report in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These symptoms were severe in about
20 percent of the men and in about 24 percent of the women.
Overall, 488 participants said they drank four or more cups of
green tea a day, 284 said they downed two to three cups daily and
the remaining 286 reported having one or fewer cups daily.
According to the investigators, the apparent protective effect
of greater green tea consumption on symptoms of depression did not
fade after they factored in social and economic status, gender,
diet, history of medical problems, use of antidepressant
medications, smoking, and physical activity.
By contrast, there was no association between consumption of
black or oolong tea, or coffee, and lower symptoms of
A green tea component, the amino acid theanine, which is thought
to have a tranquilizing effect on the brain, may explain the
"potentially beneficial effect" shown in the current study, Niu
noted in an email to Reuters Health.
However, further studies are necessary to confirm whether
greater green tea intake actually has antidepressant effects.
Therefore, Niu shied away from recommending greater green tea
intake to minimize depression among the elderly.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December
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