AsianScientist (Aug. 6, 2019) – Matcha tea extracts can reduce anxiety symptoms in mice through dopamine and serotonin receptors, according to a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90 percent shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. In Japan, matcha has historically been used to help people relax, prevent obesity and treat skin conditions. However, there has been relatively little scientific evidence supporting these health claims.
In the present study, researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan, have shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming matcha powder or matcha extract. These calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine and serotonin receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior.
The elevated plus maze test is used as an anxiety test for rodents based on the idea that animals experiencing higher anxiety will spend more time in the safer walled-off areas. Using this test, the team found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming matcha powder or matcha extract.
In addition, they found that matcha extracts had a stronger calming effect when derived using 80 percent ethanol rather than only hot water. These findings suggest that a poorly water-soluble matcha component has stronger anxiety-reducing effects than components that are easily soluble in water. A behavioral pharmacological analysis further revealed that matcha and matcha extracts reduce anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors.
“Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that matcha, which has been used as medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body,” said study leader Assistant Professor Yuki Kurauchi of Kumamoto University. “We hope that our research into matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide.”
The article can be found at: Kurauchi et al. (2019) Anxiolytic Activities of Matcha Tea Powder, Extracts, and Fractions in Mice: Contribution of Dopamine D1 Receptor- and Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor-mediated Mechanisms.
Source: Kumamoto University; Photo: Pexels.
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