Background: Green tea has become renowned for its health benefits. In this study, we investigated the anti-stress effect of two kinds of green tea against a mental stress task load.
Methods: Warm water, ordinary green tea (Sagara), and shaded white tea, which contains more amino acid components than Sagara, were used as test samples in a randomized cross-over design study. Eighteen students (nine male and nine female) participated in three experimental trials on different days at intervals of seven days. Saliva was collected before beverage intake and after performing the mental stress load tasks. Concentration of chromogranin A (CgA) in the saliva was used as an index of autonomic nervous system activity.
Results: CgA level increased after the mental tasks, but intake of green tea inhibited this increase; the anti-stress effect was even greater after consumption of shaded white tea. Intake of shaded white tea also lowered Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) score on the Profile of Mood States (POMS); subjects in this condition tended to perform more calculations in the arithmetic task than those in the warm water treatment condition.
Conclusions: Salivary CgA concentration levels increased after mental stress load tasks, but ingestion of green tea inhibited this increase. This anti-stress effect was larger after the consumption of shaded white tea than after Sagara. Shaded white tea intake also lowered TMD score (POMS) and tended to improve performance on an arithmetic task compared to warm water, suggesting that shaded white tea might also improve mood during and after mental stress load.