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Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an active compound found in green tea, may be able to delay the onset of this degenerative disease, according to research from Canada’s McMaster University. The results, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, showed that EGCG reduces cell death caused by toxic molecular complexes by not only stopping them from growing but also by reorganizing them into nontoxic formations. “Our data suggest that EGCG coats the surface of the toxic oligomers and changes their ability to grow and interact with their environment,” explains lead researcher Giuseppe Melacini, PhD, a professor at McMaster University.
But don’t go thinking that you’ll reap these protective benefits by drinking cups upon cups of the green stuff. As Melacini notes, EGCG can be unstable within the body, and taking it orally doesn’t necessarily mean it will make its way to the brain. Because of this, he and his team are looking into ways this compound can be modified so that it can be better administered and accepted by the body. Until then, there are other reasons to keep drinking: Green tea consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.