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White Paper

Insights into the power of Antioxidants

in relation to skin and ageing, drawing

on the key ingredients of Green tea

By Peter Hanami.
Author, Consultant & Speaker.

Table of Contents
Page Number

Executive Summary 3

1. Introduction 4

2. Health and Beauty 5

3. Ageing 6

4. Skin 8

5. Antioxidants 10

6. Green Tea 16

7. Conclusion 18

8. References 21

9. Appendix 22
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Executive Summary

This report focuses on a most important topic in the beauty industry, ageing. A

problem that humans have battled with since the dawn of time. In this report the topic

is focused on in terms of the effects on the skin, the importance of antioxidants on the

ageing process and introduces new research on the power and impact of Green Tea,

it’s characteristics and influences on the ageing process. Green Tea may prove to be

the magical elixir we have all been looking for, to slow down the effects of ageing

and a way to keep our beauty and looks a little longer.


The health and beauty industry these days is searching deeper into nature to uncover

the key ingredients that help give skin life and its effect on beauty. Ageing has

been a common problem that has affected man for many thousands of years. As we

get closer to nature we are discovering many new things about products all around us,

particularly the physical make up of products and their effects on skin and ageing.

Only recently have scientists discovered the power of antioxidants and their effect on

skin. In this paper we will specifically focus on green tea and detail its

components (antioxidants) and how it effects, skin and the ageing process.

In this paper we will briefly describe green teas origins, medicinal qualities and the research

directly related to skin, following this we will summarize.
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Health and Beauty industry

Industry Overview

Each year men and women all over the world spend billions of dollars on products and

services to enhance their beauty. Beauty products broadly cover three main areas,

those that protect, those that maintain and those that repair. For many years man has been

trying to discover the key to eternal life and with that the key to beauty and eternal looks.

As science becomes more sophisticated we are learning more and more about the DNA of

products and how they affect our body and our skin. Many cultures are willing

to spend huge amounts of money to keep their youth by using things like plastic surgery,

botox injections and diet. As more people are living longer, many people therefore ask what

makes people live longer? Is it diet, lifestyle or some secret ingredient? The chance of

longevity & beauty is chased by many

Scientists have discovered that the physical make up of the food we eat plays an

enormous part in our looks, health and longevity. How key foods and food groups

can add or detract from our time on the planet are now more widely known through research.

Focus is becoming more directed at the food that we eat and the effects it has on our body.

For Example, this can be seen by the recent wide spread acceptance of water and the

importance of a high daily intake to ensure good health and good skin.

Antioxidants are now a key focus in the beauty industry, as there is a lot of exciting

information coming out about their characteristics, impacts on health and their effect

on skin. Green Tea is full of antioxidants and also has many other components useful

in protecting, maintaining and repairing the skin. This has an overall effect on the

long term shape of the skins condition and the overall ageing process.
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How does it occur

Aging is not a disease but a normal life process that involves physical and

biochemical changes in the body. It is generally agreed that the only reliable way to

increase life span through diet is to eat less (caloric restriction). 6, page 72

There are two types of immunity, innate, (present at birth) and adaptive, (which is

acquired later in life). The biggest challenge facing the immune system is poor

nutrition. The immune system is weakened during times of stress. Good nutrition

supports a strong immune system and helps combat the bad effects of stress.

Research shows that supplementing the diet with antioxidants can boost immune

function back to its younger capacity. 8, page 105

Most health experts agree that the “free radical theory of aging” holds the most

promise for understanding and slowing the ageing process. This theory suggest that

the damage of free radicals constantly hitting cells, accumulates over time, producing

the signs and symptoms of ageing and wrinkles. 8, page,101.

What are the key components

The key components of ageing are internal influences and external influences.

Internal influences include the food we eat and how we react to our environment, eg

dealing with problems & stress. External factors include exposure to

the elements, for example: the sun ,smoke, etc
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What can reduce it?

Ageing can’t be stopped as it is a natural body process but it’s effects can be controlled

by diet, exercise, lifestyle and awareness

Resent research

Studies in Japan have found that green tea drinkers live longer than non-tea drinkers

and that there is a direct link to tea drinking and longevity. This is based on the

the free radical fighting abilities of green tea. Chinese researchers found that fruit flies

which generally live only fifteen days, lived a stunning forty days if tea was added to their

drinking water. 8, page 100

Other laboratory evidence suggests that green tea is the most effective scavenger of

free radicals. 8, page 51 The overall health promoting effect of polyphenols may account

for green tea’s role in promoting longevity as it helps the immune system function

more effectively. 8, page 51


How it grows

Healthy skin is an important aspect of beauty, but sun, gravity, free radical damage

and a poor diet takes a toll on healthy, youthful looking skin. Because skin cells have

a very short life span, only a few days, the skin is one of the earliest indicators of

changes in nutrition. Collagen, the skins structural protein, gives skin its firm

appearance. The combination of collagen with elastin gives skin its strength, elasticity

and smoothness. “When free radicals attack collagen, they damage the molecules that

determine the skins appearance and so contribute to an older looking face”. 8, Page 128
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How it changes

Genes play a role in causing wrinkles; wrinkles also result from a loss of skin tone

that comes with age. The sun takes the greatest toll on the skin. People have control

over their exposure to sunlight so it is important for us to understand the effects of the

sun on skin. Sunlight can damage and age skin prematurely.

Photo aging is the term used to describe this condition which shows such symptoms as

thinning, sagging and wrinkling by sunlight. 4, page 3

Sunlight shining on skin creates what is known as reactive oxygen species. This

contains molecules including free radicals which can damage the protein structure,

cell membranes and the DNA of the skin. The process of damage is called oxidative

stress. As humans we can protect ourselves from this with antioxidants.

Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress within the cells of the skin.

The major antioxidants in skin are vitamins C and E, which people acquire through

their diet. Other antioxidants are produced in the body, for example: lipoic acid. 4, page 3

What can protect skin?

Antioxidants including flavonoids, protect the skin from free radical damage.

Flavonoids in general support healthy collagen and elastin by maintaining their

elasticity. Recent research suggests that the “polyphenols in green tea, EGCG and

ECG shows the strongest effect in reducing collagen activity. “Supplementing the diet

with antioxidants, such as green tea’s polyphenols, lessens the likelihood of wrinkles” 8 page 128
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What are they

The word antioxidant is widely used by scientists and marketers in the health and

beauty industries but what does the term really mean? “Antioxidants are naturally occurring

substances in plants, fresh fruit and vegetables and red wine that have the ability to

combine with and neutralize free radicals to slow down or even reverse the damaging

effects of oxidation.” 2, page 4 What is oxidation? Oxygen is a key component of our life

without it we cannot live. But if we get too much oxygen it causes damage to cell

tissue in our bodies. Oxygen combines with other elements and molecules in the

environment to create what are called free radicals. Free radicals attack molecules in

the body causing deterioration and in some cases death. There is some evidence to

suggest that increased oxidative stress and a decline in antioxidant defenses play a

role in aging 6, page 73

So what is oxidative stress what is it and how does it damage the body? The ordinary oxygen

molecule easily turns into oxidizing agents called reactive oxygen species that possess

great potential danger. In simple terms oxidating agents are short of electrons and will

steal them from any neighbouring molecule in the body that does not keep a tight hold

on its own electrons, that is those molecules weakened by poor nutrition. This

damages the neighbouring molecule severely. For Example, some household products

are very dangerous as they contain high amounts of highly poisonous properties, for example:

bleach when it oxidizes it releases a gas containing chlorine, which is highly oxidized. Hydrogen

peroxide a chemical found in most household antiseptics has also been found to be a product

high in damaging oxidating agents.6, page 6
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How oxidation occurs

Example: A Weak Cell

● No antioxidants protecting it, eg, poor nutrition in the diet.

● Contact is made with a highly oxidized product eg, bleach and the cell
loses its negative charged electron

● When the fats in the membrane are oxidized by a reactive oxygen species, the
membrane becomes weak and leaks fluid, eventually it falls apart and the cell dies

Reactive oxygen species



fluid interior


Proteins are in the fatty membrane of the cell. When a reactive oxygen species attacks

a protein and damages it some key function of the cell will be jeopardized. DNA (the

molecule that carries the genetic information of the cell is found in the cells nucleus).

Oxidative damage to it can cause mutations that predispose the cell to cancer

formation, 6, page 7
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Antioxidants “insulate” the body from the harmful effects of oxygen. Free radicals

can’t be avoided. They arise from three sources, the body, the environment and other

free radicals. Firstly, the body creates free radicals to help with immunity but free

radicals can also be the instigators of ill health. Secondly, the environment,

ultraviolet radiation from the sun can produce free radicals in the skin. Thirdly, free

radicals can be formed in uncontrolled chain reactions. For example: if a free radical is

missing an electron it will try to get one from another nearby molecule. When a free

radical steals an electron from another molecule, oxidation has taken place. The

molecule becomes unbalanced. If it is interrupted and escapes the normal body

processes, for example: generation of energy and it roams free in the body it can damage

molecules in other cells in the body. 8, page 43 Antioxidants protect cells being killed by

reactive oxygen species 6, page 9. Over time, free radical damage to the body leads to dozens of

diseases and to premature ageing, 8, page 44, Green tea is the most effective scavenger of free

radicals 8, p51

What do they do

“The role of antioxidants is to prevent damage to DNA and stop the development of

carcinogens” 9, p94.

Carcinogens are substances that trigger either the initiation or promotion stage of

cancer. 8, page 54.

Put simply, antioxidants repair and protect the DNA from the many damaging things

in our environment. For Example, Cigarette smoke, bitumen, bleach (used in washing

clothes), toxins found in processed food (food additives, preservatives) and artificial
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sweeteners found in carbonated drinks all have damaging effects on our body

and ultimately our skin. Natural cheese only has a shelf life of three days. Scientists

add chemicals these days to enable it to have a longer shelf life up to six months.

Chemicals that make sure the cheese does not sweat in the package, helps to keep its shape,

colour, texture & doesn’t mould. Imagine what these chemicals can do to your body over the

long term.

The current debate on GM foods (Genetically Modified) is that those foods may change the DNA

of the food modified and the person eating the food. At present there is little research on the

long-term effects of GM food on the body.

Activists organizations make a point of bring these types of questions to the public agenda in

order to discuss what governments and corporations are doing to the food chain?

What are the components of antioxidants

There are a number of different types of antioxidants. Some antioxidants are made by

the body and others we get from food. 6, page 10
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The different types of Antioxidants

1. Flavonoids,

Name and source:

catechin (green tea), gossypol (rice), apignen (chamomile tea), quercetin (apples), hesperetin
(oranges) and naringenin (grapefruit).

2. Phenols
Thymol, carvacuol (thyme), ferulic acid (many herbs), gallic acid (nutgall) hydroxytyrosol (olive

3. Polyphenols - Cryptoxanthin (oranges, fruits, tea, coffee, chocolate, licorice and white wine)

4. Peptides - Carnosine, anserine

5. Gluthione, 6, page 12

Flavanoids and phenols form a large group of natural antioxidants present in many

plants. Rich sources of these are tea, garlic, olive oil and many herbs, fruits and

vegetables. They act in several ways by mopping up reactive oxygen species,

preventing the formation of reactive oxygen species and fat oxidation protecting other

antioxidants, for example: vitamin C

The antioxidants in Green Tea

Green tea has a number of antioxidants in its make up. The three most powerful

flavanoids existing can be found in green tea. They are Catechin, Epicatechin and

gallic acid. The catechins in tea have been reported to inhibit oxidation in red cell

membranes and protect DNA against hydrogen peroxide. The tea antioxidant –

epigallo catechin – inhibits oxidative damage to DNA. When DNA is damaged or

destroyed it shows up in the body in a number of ways. In the short term it can only

be seen internally. Over a longer period it shows up as medical complaints in a

doctors waiting room and visibly in the form of ageing. 6, page 13
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Vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants, as are many active substances that are found

and sourced from plant foods. 2, page 5

How do antioxidants effect ageing

As antioxidants protect cells from harmful damage, it is important to have a good

nutritional balance to ensure that your cells are adequately nourished on a daily basis.

A balance of foods is important, particularly fresh, natural unprocessed foods that are

not genetically modified. Eating a wide array of vegetables, fruits, grains and pulses,

supplemented with meat and fish is an important start to a healthy balance.

Unfortunately many of these items can’t be purchased from the supermarket and have

to be sourced from other locations like markets. Supermarket foods are often

convenient but not nutritious enough for the long-term health of your skin.

Health experts agree that you must consider your body from two angles. Internally

what you eat and external what you expose your self too. Internally we are talking

about food, beverages and body function. Externally, how we protect our skin from

the sun, and how we deal with external factors in our environment eg, stress. The

process begins with the internal, as it sets up the initial protection and has an impact on

the external condition of the body, eg, skin and hair. The two work together in unison,

so to neglect one will impact the other. Any internal cell changes will eventually show

themselves external, eg, via the skin. External impacts like the sun can have immediate impacts

such as sunburn.

As green tea is high in antioxidants it would make sense to make it part of an overall plan to

provide protection for internal and external body cells and to reduce the effects of ageing.
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Green Tea


Green tea was first discovered 4700 years ago by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong,

who as legend says discovered it by accident. “He was boiling a pot of water when

some leaves from the tea bush strayed into his pot”.1, p13

How its made

Green tea and black tea both come from the same plant. The difference between the

two is that green tea is more lightly processed.7, page 181

Green tea comes from two major sources, China and Japan. In each country the tea is

processed differently, therefore changing the nature of the tea and its benefits to the

drinker. In China, the tea leaves are left to ferment a little and then the leaves are

roasted in large pans over fire, this action disrupts the activity of the oxidizing

enzyme and develops the typical roasted taste. The green colour of the leaves remains

and the brew is slightly orange in colour.

While in Japan, they do not ferment the tea at all. Immediately after picking the leaves

they are steamed. This stops the activity of the fermenting enzyme and the leaves stay

green. When you brew Japanese tea the color is somewhere between lemon and

yellow green. 1, Page 10
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Physical Components

Green tea when analyzed chemically contains the following:

Polyphenols, Catechins, Falvanols, Caffeine, Complex sugars (Glycosides), Vitamin

C, Vitamin E, Carotene, Saponia, Flouride, Zinc, Selenium and Magnesia, 3, page 7

Polyphenols There are four types of polyphenols found in green tea.

1. epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
2. epigallocatechin (EGC)
3. epicatechin gallate (ECG)
4. epicatechin (EC)

These polyphenols account for 78% of the antioxidant potential of green tea. 6, page 49.

In one study, five adults each drank two cups of green tea, while five

other adults drank the same amount of black tea. The antioxidant capability of the

blood in the green tea drinkers was six times higher than the black tea drinkers. The

increase in antioxidant function peaked within thirty minutes for the green tea

drinkers and within fifty minutes for black tea. 8, page 51

The improvement in antioxidant levels occur throughout the body but most notably in

the lung, lower intestine, liver and skin. 8, page 52

The polyphenols in green tea, EGCG and ECG show the strongest effect in reducing

collagen activity. “Supplementing the diet with antioxidants, such as green tea’s

polyphenols, lessens the likelihood of wrinkles” 8 page 128

Although all forms of tea contain antioxidant flavonoids called polyphenols, those

found in green tea are believed to be more potent than those found in other teas.7, p181
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Catechins ● retards blood pressure increase

● improves viral digestion in the intestines
● eliminates body odour.3, page 7

Flavanols ● Prevent the formation of free radicals and work in synergy with Vitamin C and
Vitamin E, 8, p42
● Professor Rice-Evans of Guys Hospital in London, found that flavanoids in green
tea have greater efficacy as antioxidants. 8, p48

● A test tube experiment showed that flavonoids from green tea

protected artificial fat layer membranes from fat oxidation, 6, page 14

Vitamin C ● Neutralizes free radicals in the watery areas of the body, such as the blood and
within cells, recycles vitamin E 8, p42

Vitamin E ● Protects the fatty areas of the body, such as cell membranes, from oxidation;
scavenger’s free radicals. 8, p42

Carotene ● Scavenges singlet oxygen molecules (often resulting from sunlight

● prevents the oxidation of fats, 8, p42

Saponia ● Anticarinogenic
● prevents inflammation 3, page 7

Fluoride ● Prevents cavities 3, page 7

Zinc ●Prevents skin inflammation,

● maintains level of immunity 3, page 7

Selenium ● Prevents oxidation

● anticarcinogenic
● prevents deterioration of the heart muscle 3, page 7

Magnesium ● Prevents oxidation

● increases immunity
● assists in digestion of ethyl 3, page 7
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Medicinal outcomes of Green Tea

● Acting as a strong antioxidant, protecting against cancer, lowering cholesterol and

blood pressure, working as antibacterial and antiviral agent and reducing blood

sugar. 3, page 6

● Because the tea leaves are only partially fermented or not fermented at all, they

retain much of their high tannic acid content. This has the following significance

for green tea.

● The caffeine in green tea remains chained, that is its stimulating effect is
released more slowly and gently than coffee, this also means that it is
gentler on the stomach.
● The vitamin C content is much higher than that of black tea because
fermentation largely destroys that sensitive vitamin.
● Tannic acid, which gives the tea a slightly bitter flavour, is
untouched giving green tea higher fluoride and Vitamin B levels than black
tea. 1, Page, 10

● Green tea contains only half the caffeine of brewed coffee 7, p182

● Brewing time is a factor in releasing antioxidants from tea, the longer the better.
5, page 57
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Taking care of your skin early on can help your skin stay healthy well into your golden

years.10 Avoiding unprotected sun exposure is the most important measure you can

take to protect your skin. General lifestyle factors are also important – a diet too rich

in highly processed foods and alcohol and lacking in fresh fruits, vegetables and

whole foods, can have a significant impact on the health of the skin. Green tea has

enormous antioxidant qualities, that has an impact on protecting internal cells from

damage and therefore reducing visible signs on the skin. Regularly consuming

green tea the skin is set up to be fully protected and therefore show less sign of aging over time.

Meaning that skin can keep its tone, shape and texture longer. Therefore providing less visible

signs of ageing. Research in this report suggested that “supplementing the diet with

antioxidants, such as green tea’s polyphenols, lessen the likelihood of wrinkles”.

Japanese longevity and skin appearance is a visible sign to check this research and to

test the theory. A lot of focus has been recently placed on the Japanese diet and its

impact on longevity, as Japan has a number of people who live a long time. Food in

Japan is predominantly natural. Supermarkets are full of fresh food.. Rice, soybeans, fish,

vegetables and green tea are the basic staples of the Japanese diet. They are all unprocessed

and eaten in their natural forms on a daily basis.
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1. Zittlau, Jorg (1999) Green Tea – for health and vitality, Sterling Publishing Co, New

2. Sach, Penelope (2000) The healing effects of Herbal Tea, Penguin Books, Ringwood ,

3. Udall, Kate (1998) Green Tea - Fight cancer, Lower Cholesterol, Live Longer, Woodland
Publishing, Utah, USA

4. Schardt, David (2003) The skin game, Nutrition Action health Letter July/August, 2003
30(6):3-6, Biology Digest.

5. Lister, Carolyn (2003) All you need to know about Antioxidants, New Zealand Institute for
Crop and Food Research Limited, Christchurch, New Zealand.

6. Smythies, John Raymond (1998) Every persons guide to antioxidants, Rutgers University
Press, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA

7. Packer, Lester and Colman, Carol (2002) The Antioxidant Miracle, John Wiley and Sons,
New York, USA.

8. Mitscher, Lester and Dolby, Victoria (1998) The green tea book: China’s fountain of youth,
Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, NY, USA.

9. Curwain, Amy (2004) Womens health and fitness, magazine, issue 10, no1, published by
Blitz Publications, Melbourne, Australia.

10. What can I do about premature aging? Dermalogica, brochure, #3821C