Green Tea Health Benefits and Safety

Julia Dosik BS, MPH

Can green tea really make a difference in your health?


Out of all the teas produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea contains the highest levels of powerful nutrients called catechins (pronounced cat-eh-kins). There are eight main catechins found in green tea. Of them, the most notable is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), accounting for about 65% of all green tea catechins.1 These nutrients help provide cardiovascular and metabolic benefits, including green tea’s ability to support healthy weight. Therefore, it is no surprise that green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks and supplements on the market.


Is green tea good for your heart?

Consuming green tea is correlated with improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduction in body fat. In fact, one of the most reputable medical journals, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published a study showing that those who consumed more than fivecups of green tea daily experienced a 26% lower risk of death from cardiovascular events compared with people who drank less than one cup daily.2 In another study, when individuals with existing high blood pressure were given a beverage with green tea extract containing catechins, their systolic blood pressure was reduced by an average 9 mm Hg in 12 weeks.3 Imbalanced cholesterol levels are a huge risk factor for cardiovascular disease. When given green tea extract mixed with catechins for six weeks, obese and/or overweight women experienced a 4.8% decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.4 Thus, when it comes to cardiovascular benefits, it is evident that the research is on green tea’s side.

Can green tea reduce belly fat?

Many consumers seek out green tea to aid with weight loss—and for good reason. Research shows that when individuals consumed a green tea extract mixture with catechins daily for 12 weeks, they had about a 10% reduction in body fat (including visceral fat), as well as a 1-inch waist circumference reduction.3 Not bad from just consuming a natural plant extract daily!

What is matcha green tea?

Matcha is a type of green tea made by taking the young leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder. Matcha leaves grow on green tea bushes in Japan, but they are kept in the shade. Keeping them in the shade increases the amount of chlorophyll content, which is the pigment that gives the leaves their bright green color. In terms of catechin content, matcha also contains high amounts of EGCG.

What is the best way to consume green tea?

Although the pleasant taste of both matcha and regular green tea is a bonus for its consumption, one must drink large amounts of the tea to boost blood levels of the catechins for them high enough to provide these health benefits. Since it is not as common for people in Western cultures to consume the high amounts of green tea that is consumed in Eastern Asia, the development of potent green tea extracts has been on the rise. Concentrated green tea extracts are formulated in a way that retains high amounts of catechins, making them even more absorbable than green tea beverages alone. In fact, there is a novel green tea extract providing eight key catechins found in green tea. Taking one capsule daily is equivalent to drinking up to 12 cups of standard green tea!

Is green tea safe?

Green tea is generally regarded as safe to drink and supplement with. Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine may want to limit their daily intake or try a decaffeinated green tea beverage and/or supplement. Statements of green tea causing liver injury have made their way through the popular media. Despite concerning media headlines, the truth is that reports of green tea causing any injury are extremely rare. When taking an extract, do not exceed the recommended dose on the label. Green tea has been shown to be beneficial and safe in myriad studies. Life Extension continues to stand by the wide range of published research showing that green tea supports good health through various beneficial biochemical mechanisms.

Do I need green tea?

The benefits of green tea have been scientifically validated, so including it in your diet and/or supplement regimen is a sound choice. Green tea’s optimizing impact on cardiovascular health and weight reduction makes this powerful extract even more appealing to individuals looking to support their health in these areas—especially since cardiovascular disease and obesity are health concerns in the United States. Whether you are trying to match the JAMA-reported study and drink five cups of green tea per day, or you take a high-quality and potent green tea extract daily, there is no question that you will be providing your body with powerful catechins for overall body performance!

About the Author: Julia Dosik, BS, MPH, is a clinical corporate trainer at Life Extension headquarters in South Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology as well as a Master of Public Health specializing in health education. Julia utilizes a mix of in-person, virtual and written training to educate employees and consumers on how the human body functions and the importance of supplementing with science-backed ingredients. It is her deepest belief that high-quality dietary supplements are fundamental to an individual’s physical and mental well-being.




References:
  1. Mancini E, Beglinger C, Drewe J, et al. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2017Oct 15;34:26-37.
  2. Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, et al. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. JAMA. 2006 Sep 13;296(10):1255-65.
  3. Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007Jun;15(6):1473-83.
  4. Huang L-H, Liu C-Y, Wang L-Y, et al. Effects of green tea extract on overweight and obese women with high levels of low density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C): a randomized, double-blind, and cross-over placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018 Nov 6;18(1):294.

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