Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, a new study reveals how exposure to large amounts of green tea damaged the reproductive function of fruit flies and the development of their offspring.
Although it is unclear whether green tea has the same effect on humans, the research team states that their findings justify caution against consuming excessive amounts of green tea and other nutraceuticals.
Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant’s fresh leaves. Due to the fact that green tea is one of the least processed types of tea, it maintains most of its polyphenols and antioxidants, which are known to be greatly beneficial for health.
Prior research has indicated that green tea can reduce cholesterol, assist in weight loss and protect against several illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer.
On the other hand, some studies have stated negative health impacts if green tea is consumed in large amounts; animal studies have associated excessive consumption of green tea to impaired embryonic development and dramatic weight loss.
Green tea should be consumed in moderation
In order to reach their findings, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California-Irvine, lead investigator Mahtab Jafari, and colleagues exposed larvae and embryos of fruit flies to different doses of green tea.
Fruit flies are frequently used to study human disease due to the fact that they share 75% of the same genes that cause disease in humans.
The research team found that 10 milligrams of green tea resulted in slower development of larvae. There was also a remarkable reduction in the size and number of offspring that emerged.
Female offspring exposed to 10 milligrams of green tea showed a 17% reduction in lifespan, as well as a reduction in reproductive output.
Additionally, researchers found that 10 milligrams of green tea resulted in morphological abnormalities in the fruit flies’ reproductive organs, including atrophy in ovaries and testicles.
It was found that green tea protected fruit flies from dehydration, but it also increased vulnerability to starvation and heat stress.
Although the study did not examine the mechanisms by which green tea impacted the reproduction and development of the fruit flies, they hypothesize that high doses of green tea may trigger programmed cell death, or apoptosis, to produce such effects.
The research team now intends to test the impacts of other nutraceuticals in fruit flies, as well as identify and quantify the metabolites of natural products in the fruit flies.