Study suggests matcha can improve cognitive function

29-Oct-2021

For this placebo-controlled study, researchers in Japan assessed its value for younger adults. The study results were published in Science Direct

Taiyo International has highlighted a recently published human study, which found matcha may help to ease mild stress-related cognitive decline and improves reaction time in young adults.

“Matcha powder is a wholesome nutritious ingredient. When treated with care, matcha is a rich source of polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, fibers, chlorophyll and L-theanine,” said Derek Timm, Taiyo International’s Functional Ingredient Technology Expert.

Earlier this year, green tea industry powerhouse ITO EN announced its partnership with Taiyo International to supply matcha for the food, beverage and supplement industries in North America.

Previous studies have found daily matcha intake improves attention and executive function in adults middle-aged or older. For this placebo-controlled study, researchers in Japan assessed its value for younger adults. The study results were published in Science Direct.

Researchers recruited 42 participants aged 25 to 34, who consumed 2 grams of ITO EN’s ceremonial-grade matcha daily for two weeks. After completing tests designed to induce mild, acute psychological stress, participants’ memory, attention, reaction times and other criteria were evaluated.

Results indicated participants that consumed the matcha daily had higher attentional function than the placebo group, leading researchers to conclude the interaction between caffeine and theanine naturally present in the matcha produces a positive effect on cognitive function in young adults during or after stress conditions. “They also experienced faster reaction times and were better able to identify positive emotions, which may indicate a happier perspective,” said Timm.

He suggested the gaming category is ideal for matcha entries. “There are a number of new ingredients attaching themselves to gaming performance. Matcha and theanine are some of the originals. In addition to L-theanine, matcha also delivers the benefits of naturally occurring caffeine, which is about as much as a standard soda or a traditional cup of coffee. So, there is no need to add artificial caffeine.”

The company says matcha marketers can leverage existing L-theanine research. “The ceremonial-grade matcha used in this study contains about 50 grams of theanine per two-gram dose. In studies using Taiyo’s Suntheanine L-theanine, this is the lowest dose of L-theanine shown to increase calming alpha brain waves.

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ITO EN’s ceremonial-grade matcha, available from Taiyo and partner NutriScience Innovations, is suitable for protein powders and RTDs, smoothies, bars and teas. “Taiyo anticipates that there will be increased interest in creating new formulas as well as line extensions to take advantage of matcha’s rising popularity.”

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