Effects of green tea consumption on cognitive dysfunction in an elderly population: a randomized placebo-controlled study

Nutr J. 2016 May 4;15(1):49. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0168-7.


Background: Green tea is a beverage with potential effects on cognitive dysfunction, as indicated by results of experimental studies. However, its effects in humans, especially at real-world (typical) consumption levels, are unclear.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized controlled study was conducted to assess the effects of green tea consumption on cognitive dysfunction (Mini-Mental State Examination Japanese version (MMSE-J) score <28) in Japan. Participants were randomly allocated to the green tea or placebo group, and consumed either 2 g/day of green tea powder (containing 220.2 mg of catechins) or placebo powder (containing 0.0 mg of catechins), respectively, for 12 months. Cognitive function assessments were performed every 3 months using the MMSE-J and laboratory tests.

Results: Thirty-three nursing home residents with cognitive dysfunction were enrolled (four men, 29 women; mean age ± SD, 84.8 ± 9.3; mean MMSE-J score ± SD, 15.8 ± 5.4), of whom 27 completed the study. Changes of MMSE-J score after 1 year of green tea consumption were not significantly different compared with that of the placebo group (-0.61 [-2.97, 1.74], least square mean (LSM) difference [95 % CI]; P = 0.59). However, levels of malondialdehyde-modified low-density lipoprotein (U/L), a marker of oxidative stress, was significantly lower in the green tea group (-22.93 [-44.13, -1.73], LSM difference [95 % CI]; P = 0.04).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that 12 months green tea consumption may not significantly affect cognitive function assessed by MMSE-J, but prevent an increase of oxidative stress in the elderly population. Additional long-term controlled studies are needed to clarify the effects.

Trial registration: UMIN000011668.

Keywords: Cognitive function; Elderly; Green tea; Oral administration; Randomized-controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tea* / chemistry


  • Placebos
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea
  • Catechin

Associated data

  • JPRN/UMIN000011668