Scientists discovered that a cup of green tea may be helpful with learning and memory problems related to obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep-related breathing disorder which the body of oxygen during sleep. A person suffering from the disorder experiences pauses in breathing while sleeping but also a drop in oxygen levels, which can affect organs of the body and eventually lead to hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes, and cognitive malfunctioning.
Researchers found that Polyphenols, powerful antioxidants found in green tea may help thwart cognitive problems related to memory and learning abilities.
Previous studies suggested that green tea polyphenols could protect against neurodegenerative changes related to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease by protecting brain cells from the effects of harmful molecules called free radicals.
The latest study involved male rats that were deprived of oxygen during a 12-hour "night" cycle for two weeks. The oxygen deprivation was similar to that experienced by adults with OSA. The rats received either water containing GTP or half plain water, and then tested for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.
After receiving their drinks, the rats were tested their spatial learning and memory abilities.
The rats that were treated with GTP had better results than the other rats. These findings suggest that the chemicals in green tea could calm learning problems related to OSA-induced hypoxia. The rats given GTP also had evidence of less oxidative stress.
Scientists believe that GTPs may represent a potential interventional strategy for patients with sleep-disordered breathing.
Besides green tea, polyphenols can also be found in many foods and beverages such as wine and certain fruits and vegetables.