You’ve probably heard there is well-studied evidence that drinking tea may support your wellness, but you may not know that new research has come out on just why matcha green tea may hold even more long-term astonishing health benefits than you imagined.
A new study analyzing the impact of the long-term consumption of matcha validated that the 100% green tea powder may help quality of sleep and improve social cognition.
In the new study presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on August 2nd, leading researchers shared details on exactly how their year-long study looking at long-term matcha worked – and the specific type of testing they used to analyze their results.
The participants in the matcha group took 2g of matcha per day in the form of matcha capsules for a 12 month period, while the placebo group received capsules filled with corn starch and a green coloring.
The clinical year-long study was set up as a double blind placebo-controlled randomized comparative study. There were a total of 99 study subjects between 60-85 years of age selected from 939 participants all of which were diagnosed with either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – which is a pre-stage of dementia – or subjective cognitive decline (SDC), which is the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
How did researchers confirm the daily intake of matcha improves social cognition and sleep quality?
In the clinical study, researchers used a variety of different evaluations and testing methods around biomarkers on the test subjects to comprehensively analyze the impact of consuming matcha long-term.
Biomarkers are the objective medical signs and characteristics of the body — not simply the symptoms reported by a patient (or test subject) —that scientists and doctors often used to measure the presence or progress of disease, or the effects of a treatment. (like consuming matcha daily!)
A variety of testing methods were employed by the research team before and after the participants in the study consumed 2 grams of matcha in capsule form for 12 months.
Some of the tests for measuring changes in biomarkers included:
- Cognitive function evaluations
- Blood-based biomarkers
- kinetic analyses (Blood tea component levels)
- Cognitrax (CNS Vital Signs, LLC)
- Neuroimaging (fNIRS and Amyloid PET imaging)
- Sleep evaluations (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI scores)
Some of the testing – such as the results of several neuropsychological tests did not appear to show a big difference in cognitive function scores between the matcha group and the test group – though when researchers evaluated cognitive function using the Cognitrax to measure and monitor brain performance for each brain region, they found the matcha group showed significant improvement in social cognition assessed with facial expression recognition testing.
Using Cognitrax, the researchers found that the test subjects who took matcha were better at perceiving and reading people’s emotions based on their facial expressions than those who simply took a placebo for the 12 month – which is quite remarkable.
The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used to evaluate the quality of sleep – which after 12 months found test subjects who consumed 2 grams of matcha per day had an improved quality of sleep.
More and more scientific studies are being conducted around matcha and potential health-promoting properties
There has been a fair amount of research done around the short-term effects of matcha greatly increasing the accuracy of decision making and increasing work productivity – but never before has there been a clinical study that comprehensively analyzed the effects of long-term consumption of matcha for a 12 month period.
Previous studies around matcha have suggested the green powder’s large concentrations of catechins (particularly EGCG) as well as the high amounts of l-theanine found may be the components behind matcha’s ability to help support working memory, alleviate stress, improve sleep, as well as lower blood cholesterol levels and help manage body fat.
The bottom line: Drinking matcha regularly may help support your body’s efforts to maintain health & avoid disease
The scientific community is excited about this latest study to be published, but are continuing to study the relationship between the daily intake of matcha and the improvement of social cognitive function and sleep.
The research isn’t 100% there yet, but we are heading in that direction. In order to confirm the validity behind implementing recommendations of consuming more matcha daily, the scientific community needs to continue taking deeper and broad analyses of matcha and the human body & mind. Just as they have with this latest study!
Matcha’s benefits may go far beyond just being a refreshing beverage that provides you with a caffeine energy boost. There is plenty of research supporting how regularly drinking matcha green tea can actually improve your health.
You may also like:
Announcement of study presented at conference: