Green tea extract has already been a part of various studies that have proven its medicinal benefits. But a new study has shown a new aspect of its benefits for down syndrome patients. This study was a collaboration between research teams from Spain and Belgium, to investigate the benefits of this extract in Down syndrome. The complete study findings are now published in the journal Scientific Reports.
According to this new study, the green tea extract intake may help Down syndrome patients (children) to prevent facial dysmorphia up to three years of age. The animal models suggest that it works better in low doses than a high dose for the said benefit.
At the same time, this research team also found that taking a high dose of green tea extract can worsen the facial morphology and bone development in the patient. This extremely varied behavior of the same herbal extract is surprising and needs more research, until then it should only be used under supervision by a certified medical expert.
Down syndrome is a common disease in children which is caused by overexpression of some genes resulting in different cognitive and physical disabilities. One of these genes is called DYRK1A which plays a part in changing bone development and brain growth in patients who are diagnosed with Down syndrome.
One compound naturally found in green tea extract, called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) plays a part in this medical benefit by limiting the activity of the DYRK1A gene. However, it has other benefits too. Some previous research on this compound also shows that it may improve cognition in young children who are struggling with this disease.
In this current study, the research team checked the efficacy of supplements unfused with EGCG by testing them into mice. These test animals were given varying doses of the EGCG and they showed different effects. In the next half of the study, the research team organized an observational study including Down Syndrome patients and other, healthy children.
This project was conducted under the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), University of Barcelona (Spain), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and lastly, KU Leuven (Belgium). It also received some help from fellow researchers belonging to the University of Central Florida, University Ramon, as well as IMIM – Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute.
Despite all these results which indicate that green tea extract may save young children from visible damage, this study is still in a preliminary stage and needs more information for verification of these results. Once the effects of EGCG are clear, the ECGC supplements can be made a part of Down Syndrome medications and treatment plan, after its clinical evaluation and safety.
Although EGCG products are easily available everywhere and are used in various overall health-boosting products, they are not suitable for young children. Before anything comes clearer, using the green tea supplements on your own, or giving them to younger kids is neither safe nor recommended.