Ascorbic acid, sugar with green tea helps absorb antioxidants

September 10th, 2009 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 10 (IANS) Adding ascorbic acid and sugar to green tea can help the body absorb antioxidants better, says a study.
Mario Ferruzzi, associate professor of food science at Purdue University, adapted a digestion model with human intestinal cells to show that adding ascorbic acid to green tea would increase the absorbability of catechins found in the tea.

Catechins, a class of polyphenols common in tea, cocoa and grape, are antioxidants thought to fight heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other health problems.

Ferruzzi, associate professor Elsa Janle and Catrina Peters, a graduate in nutrition at Purdue, were able to show that adding ascorbic acid, sucrose or both together increases by as much as three times the amount of catechins that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

“This model may be used as a pre-emptive screening tool at very little cost before you do expensive tests on animals or humans,” said Ferruzzi.

“If you want to get human screening off the ground, it takes months. If you want to use this model, it takes hours.”

Ferruzzi said testing with the model could allow researchers to predict how a new product formula might change the product’s properties.

The model also can be adapted to simulate the digestive characteristics of other animals or humans as originally intended.

“Having the vitamin C seems to do it,” Ferruzzi said. “And if you don’t want to squeeze a lemon into your cup, just have a glass of juice with your green tea.”

Ferruzzi said the next step in the research is to stage a human clinical trial, says a Purdue release.

These findings were published in the early online edition of Food Research International.

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