- Japanese researchers gave the tea to stress-sensitive mice that were isolated
- The results suggested the tea made them feel less depressed than before
- READ MORE: Matcha tea helps you live longer, says Harvard longevity expert
Trendy matcha tea now sold at Starbucks and Dunkin’ may help fight depression, study finds.
Researchers in Japan gave the tea to stress-sensitive mice that had been kept in social isolation for a week.
They found that those who drank the tea showed fewer signs of depression than the rodents who received the water placebo.
Experts have suggested this may be because the tea causes the release of dopamine, the body’s feel-good hormone, helping to improve the rodent’s mood.
Dr Yuki Kurauchi, a biochemist who led the research, said: “These results suggest that Matcha tea powder exerts an antidepressant effect by activating the dopamine system in the brain, and this is influenced by the mental state of the brain. individual.”
It is estimated that about 21 million American adults are depressed, of which about one in four is a child.
Matcha tea – made from powdered tea leaves – has been enjoyed in Japan for hundreds of years where it formed the backbone of tea ceremonies.
It has already been linked to a host of health benefits, including cancer prevention, weight loss, and improved heart health. Just this week, a Harvard University longevity expert even credited it with helping him age an entire decade.
There was also evidence that it helped boost mental performance and reduce symptoms of depression.
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David Sinclair, a molecular biologist, is now 53 – but says DNA tests suggest his body is still 43.
In the latest study, scientists tested the impact of tea drinking on a group of 190 mice.
Each was kept at a constant temperature of 71.6 F (22 C) and a 12 hour cycle of light and dark for a week. They had unlimited access to food and water.
Some were then given matcha tea to drink about 30 minutes before measuring depression in rodents.
Scientists used the tail suspension test for this. This is when the mice are suspended by their tails using tape and watched for about six minutes.
In the test, the happiest mice should struggle more to free themselves. But depressed mice are expected to spend more time still.
The results showed that the mice that drank matcha tea were more active than their counterparts.
Researchers said this suggests matcha tea fights depression.
An examination of their brains showed more activity in the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens, suggesting a possible dopamine boost.
Dr Kurauchi from Kumamoto University added: “Matcha tea reduced immobility time only in stress-sensitive mice that experienced greater stress due to social isolation.
‘[These mice also exhibited higher depression-like behavior, in comparison to the stress-tolerant mice.’
Mice that had been bred to be stress-susceptible showed a positive effect from drinking matcha tea. But those who had not been bred for this did not.
It was not clear how well the results of the study would transfer to humans.
The matcha tea used was manufactured by AIYA company which is based in Nishio, Aichi, Japan. Its tea is available in the US.
The research was partly funded by AIYA. It was published in the journal Nutrients.