Green Tea Antioxidants Reach the Eye – Study

green tea researchThis report, called “Green Tea Catechins and Their Oxidative Protection in the Rat Eye,” is the first to detail how all the eye tissue take in green tea’s antioxidants, called “catechins.” This research may ultimately show how green tea could help stave off glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Antioxidants are important because they attack free radicals, molecules that create oxidative stress. Significant research points to free radical damage as a potential cause of disease, damage and aging to the body, including the eye.

Some other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, and lutein, can also help the eye, according to Chi Pui Pang, leader of the study. Many others antioxidants don’t make it past the digestive system — the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.  Because of this study, scientists have determined that the catechins found in green tea are passed from the digestive system into the tissues of the eye. Before this study, scientists were skeptical about whether green tea could help the eye. Pang’s study confirmed the benefit.

The scientific team performed experiments on lab rats that had been drinking green tea. They analyzed tissues of the eyes of the rats and found conclusive evidence of catechisms in the eye tissue.  Different parts of the eye absorbed different levels of particular catechins. One of the catechins, gallocatechin, was found in significant levels in the retina. The aqueous humor — the liquid found inside the eye — absorbed more epigallocatechin. The catechins’ ability to neutralize the oxidative stress continued for as much as 20 hours.

The report concludes by saying, “Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress.” Learn more about antioxidants and the eye.

Study:  Chu et al. “Green Tea Catechins and Their Oxidative Protection in the Rat Eye.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 58 (3): 1523 DOI: 10.1021/jf9032602