Green tea extract may be rich source of potent free radical scavengers: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Green tea Antioxidant

A polyphenol-rich fraction of green tea extract may be one of the richest sources of antioxidants, according to new research which found the extract to exhibit “remarkable free radical scavenging ability,”.

The study, published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry, ​investigated the the green tea extracts ability to react with different types of free radicals and singlet oxygen. It found that Sunphenon, a polyphenol rich fraction of green tea that contains between 75 and 80 percent green tea polyphenols, exhibits potent free radicals and singlet oxygen scavenging.

“This remarkably high scavenging power of Sunphenon towards most of the important free radicals makes it highly potent anti-oxidant,”​ said the researchers, led by Subramanian Kaviarasan from the University Annamalai, India.

“Based on these studies, it is confirmed that Sunphenon is one of the richest sources of free radical scavengers,”​ they said.

The Sunphenon green tea extract is produced by Taiyo International. In their paper the authors noted that although Taiyo provided samples of their product, they were not involved in the research – which was part funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Increasing market

According to Global Industry Analysts, herbal supplements and remedies market is to hit almost $100 billion by 2015.

Success stories for supplement ingredients that have crossed over to functional foods include phytosterols, green tea antioxidant herbal extracts and natural sweeteners.

The Global Industry Analysts report said that while the market with the highest growth rate is Asia-Pacific, supply from the region is also on the up, with herbal supplements made in Asia experiencing significant demand in the EU and the US.

Green tea extract

The authors of the study said that the Sunphenon green tea extract is rich in highly purified polyphenols and natural green tea catechins. These polyphenols have been shown, in previous studies, to have biochemical and physiological benefits including antioxidant, anti-microbial, fat burning activities.

Previous research has reported that Sunphenon increases the total plasma antioxidant capacity between 35 and 40 percent after one hour administrations, and has potent anticancer properties in rates.

The new study investigated the ability of the polyphenol rich Sunphenon extract to react with free radicals including hydroxyl radicals, superoxide, nitric oxide and singlet oxygen.

Radical scavenging

The hydroxyl radical scavenging ability of Sunphenon was compared with a standard thiocyanate anion, which indicated that Sunphenon reacts with hydroxyl radical.

The researchers reported the green tea extract to also scavenge singlet oxygen very efficiently, decreasing its life time from 64 to 21 microseconds. The nitric oxide, superoxide and hydroxyl radical scavenging actions of Sunphenon were estimated by steady state methods.

Sunphenon also showed protection against peroxide-induced damage to mitochondrial superoxide dismutase and inhibits radiation induced DNA damage

Source: Journal of Food Biochemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4514.2010.00404.x
“Potent radical scavenging ability of sunphenon: A green tra extract”
Authors: S. Kaviarasan, A.S. Sivakumar, A. Barik, A. Kunwar, G.H. Naik, K.I. Priyadarsini

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