Green tea suppresses aging.

Oxygen is necessary for human life. But oxygen has two aspects, onebeneficial and one malign. The oxygen we breathe is conveyed to everypart of the body where it plays a key role in metabolism. But it can alsobe a very harmful agent in the form of active or free radical oxygen. Activeoxygen is a problem because it can combine with anything in the body andoxidize it with consequentdestruction of cell membranes, damageto DNA and oxidation of lipids (fats). All of these can lead to diseases like cancer.

Here we shall focus on the process by which active oxygen combines withlipids (fats) in the body to create lipid peroxide, that is, lipid with anexcessive amount of oxygen. Lipid peroxide is thought to be a harmfulsubstance which can trigger the diseases such as cancer, cardio-vasculardisease and diabetes. Since lipid peroxide is more easily generated and lesseasily purged as age advances, it tends to accumulate in the body.

Lipofuscin, called the *aging pigment,, also accumulates in the body inproportion to age and is considered to be an index of aging. But lipofuscinis itself created by lipid peroxide, which suggests a connection betweenaging and lipid peroxide. One way to slow aging may, therefore, be toprevent the production and accumulation of active oxygen and lipidperoxide in the body. It has been shown, for example, that the higher theconcentration of the powerful antioxidants vitamins E and C in the bodiesof animals, the longer they live. This suggests that active consumption ofagents that are effective antioxidants will restrain the aging process.

We already know that green tea is rich in those vitamins that possessthis antioxidizing capability. In addition, Prof. Okuda has recentlydemonstrated that catechin in green tea is a far stronger antioxidant thanvitamin E (about 20 times stronger in fact). These results come fromlaboratory tests only, and we must wait for further research to confirm adirect cause and effect relationship between the antioxidizing functionof green tea and the retardation of aging. But the very fact that green teacontains a powerful antioxidant is a strong foundation for believing it canhelp control aging.

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