Green Tea Extract

Tea Polyphenols May Combat Heart Disease and Cancer

“Several cell culture, animal, and human studies have shown that tea polyphenols could be beneficial to human health,” Arpita Basu, PhD, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, told Life Extension. “Research has focused mostly on green tea, and its active compound, epigallocatechin gallate [EGCG], which has been shown to possess anti-obesity, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic [anticancer] effects.”

Second only to water, tea is the world’s most consumed beverage, although it is less popular in the Western diet. Green, oolong, black, and white teas come from the tropical evergreen Camellia sinensis.22 Because oolong and black teas undergo more extensive processing before they are marketed, green tea and white (non-fermented) tea retain more polyphenols in their intact form. Tea polyphenols break down at high temperatures, so freshly brewed tea contains a higher amount of polyphenols per serving than do canned or bottled tea drinks.

“Polyphenols in tea have emerged as potential chemopreventive candidates for cancer treatment,” Yogeshwer Shukla, head of the proteomics laboratory, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre in Lucknow, India, told Life Extension. “Epidemiological studies have described the beneficial effects of tea polyphenols on the reduction of the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer. Other [benefits] include increase in metabolic rate, antidiabetes effects, a boost to the immune system and mental alertness, and lowering stress hormone levels.”

Mechanisms underlying these health benefits of tea polyphenols may include antioxidant activity, and effects on enzymes that metabolize drugs and that are involved in regulation of cell growth and reproduction. Many of these effects lead to anti-tumor properties and to cardiovascular benefits, thereby potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.22-24 In Southeast Asia, where daily tea drinking is the norm, drinking more tea is linked to lower incidence of heart attack and other cardiovascular events.25

In adult smokers, daily supplementation with green tea alleviates the oxidative damage associated with smoking and reduces C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.25 In individuals with high cholesterol, tea drinking may also curb the rise in blood lipids seen after eating.25 “Green tea extracts or EGCG supplementation has also been shown to reduce body fat and waist circumference in healthy overweight adults,” Dr. Basu said. “Tea supplementation containing a mixture of theaflavins [black tea], green tea catechins, and other tea polyphenols were shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol in men and women with hypercholesterolemia [high blood lipids].”

A recent study of more than 40,000 adults in Japan26 showed that drinking more green tea was linked to lower death rates from all causes and from cardiovascular disease in particular over 11 years of follow-up. Although polyphenols in black tea have also been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, the effects of green tea catechins are more pronounced.

“Due to the ability of green tea catechins to reach the human brain, they have also been correlated with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” Dr. Basu said. “Since the underlying cause of most chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders [includes] oxidative stress and inflammation, tea polyphenols can benefit overall human health by reducing these risk factors.”

Tea polyphenols, particularly green tea catechins, are potent antioxidants and fight inflammation, DNA damage, and LDL oxidation.27 They are therefore well equipped to counteract the oxidative damage and inflammation associated with aging, smoking, consuming a high-fat diet, obesity and lack of physical exercise, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
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In cellular studies and animal experiments, green tea has been shown to reduce LDL oxidation and lower cholesterol absorption from the diet.27-29 It also causes blood vessel relaxation, which lowers blood pressure, and prevents overgrowth of smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls, which can otherwise narrow the blood vessel, reducing blood flow and increasing blood pressure. Through these actions, green tea seems to protect against cardiovascular disease and death.

“Tea polyphenols are now regarded as ‘extra-nutritional’ compounds in a healthy diet with distinct cardioprotective health benefits,” Dr. Basu said. “Green tea consumption, three to four cups a day, is part of the traditional diet in Asian countries like China and Japan and accounts for most of the health benefits associated with tea consumption in those countries. On the basis of current information, consuming two to three cups of freshly brewed green tea is a healthy dietary choice.”

Dr. Basu recommends additional research on tea polyphenol intake in adults with chronic diseases related to oxidative stress and inflammation. Her group is now comparing the effects of daily intake of four cups of freshly prepared green tea, four cups of water (control), or the equivalent amount of EGCG supplement (500 mg) in pre-diabetic adults.

“This is a novel study and will prove whether…green tea polyphenols could be effective in lowering the risk factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and its related cardiovascular complications,” Dr. Basu said. “Comparative studies among white, green, and black tea will further show which one is the most effective and whether a combination therapy leads to better outcomes versus a single source.” Dr. Shukla added that studies in humans are difficult to interpret because tea consumption may be associated with socioeconomic and lifestyle factors that obscure the results. Methods of tea preparation and intake must be clearly defined.

“Effective intervention studies, better understanding of the fundamental mechanism(s) of action of the tea constituents and their bioavailability are needed to more effectively determine the efficacy of tea constituents as preventive agents for human cancer,” Dr. Shukla said. “Although considerable accumulating information provides a compelling body of evidence for the preventive potential of tea against cancer, naturally occurring tea polyphenols have yet to be evaluated in clinical intervention in human trials.”


22. Shukla Y. Tea and cancer chemoprevention: a comprehensive review. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2007 Apr;8(2):155-66.

23. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea polyphenols for health promotion. Life Sci. 2007 Jul 26;81(7):519-33.

24. Shankar S, Ganapathy S, Srivastava RK. Green tea polyphenols: biology and therapeutic implications in cancer. Front Biosci. 2007;12:4881-9.

25. Basu A, Lucas EA. Mechanisms and effects of green tea on cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev. 2007 Aug;65(8 Pt 1):361-75.

26. 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.

27. Tipoe GL, Leung TM, Hung MW, Fung ML. Green tea polyphenols as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent for cardiovascular protection. Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets. 2007 Jun;7(2):135-44.

28. Wang S, Noh K, Koo SI. Epigallocatechin gallate and caffeine differentially inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fat in ovariectomized rats. J Nutr. 2006;136(11):2791-6.

29. Koo SI, Noh SK. Green tea as inhibitor of the intestinal absorption of lipids: potential mechanism for its lipid-lowering effect. J Nutr Biochem. 2007;18(3):179-83.
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Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults.
Maki KC, Reeves MS, Farmer M, Yasunaga K, Matsuo N, Katsuragi Y, Komikado M, Tokimitsu I, Wilder D, Jones F, Blumberg JB, Cartwright Y.

Provident Clinical Research, Bloomington, IN 47403 and Glen Ellyn, IL 60137.

This study evaluated the influence of a green tea catechin beverage on body composition and fat distribution in overweight and obese adults during exercise-induced weight loss. Participants (n = 132 with 107 completers) were randomly assigned to receive a beverage containing approximately 625 mg of catechins with 39 mg caffeine or a control beverage (39 mg caffeine, no catechins) for 12 wk. Participants were asked to maintain constant energy intake and engage in >/=180 min/wk moderate intensity exercise, including >/=3 supervised sessions per week. Body composition (dual X-ray absorptiometry), abdominal fat areas (computed tomography), and clinical laboratory tests were measured at baseline and wk 12. There was a trend (P = 0.079) toward greater loss of body weight in the catechin group compared with the control group; least squares mean (95% CI) changes, adjusted for baseline value, age, and sex, were -2.2 (-3.1, -1.3) and -1.0 (-1.9, -0.1) kg, respectively. Percentage changes in fat mass did not differ between the catechin [5.2 (-7.0, -3.4)] and control groups [-3.5 (-5.4, 1.6)] (P = 0.208). However, percentage changes in total abdominal fat area [-7.7 (-11.7, -3.8) vs. -0.3 (-4.4, 3.9); P = 0.013], subcutaneous abdominal fat area [-6.2 (-10.2, -2.2) vs. 0.8 (-3.3, 4.9); P = 0.019], and fasting serum triglycerides (TG) [-11.2 (-18.8, -3.6) vs. 1.9 (-5.9, 9.7); P = 0.023] were greater in the catechin group. These findings suggest that green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced changes in abdominal fat and serum TG.

Chronic green tea consumption decreases body mass, induces aromatase expression, and changes proliferation and apoptosis in adult male rat adipose tissue.
Monteiro R, Assunção M, Andrade JP, Neves D, Calhau C, Azevedo I.

Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal.

Green tea (GT) and its components have been shown to possess antiobesity properties and the corresponding mechanisms of action are being investigated, given the epidemic proportions of obesity incidence. In the current work, we used 12-mo-old male Wistar rats to test the effect of 6 mo of treatment with GT as the sole drinking beverage (52.8 +/- 6.4 mL/d) on adipose tissue (AT). AT aromatase expression was determined by Western blotting, plasma concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and testosterone were determined by RIA, and adipocyte size determined by measuring diameter in tissue sections. Proliferation and apoptosis were also assessed by Ki67 immunostaining and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end-labeling, respectively. Evaluations were made in subcutaneous (sc) AT and visceral (v) AT. Body weight increased over time in both groups (P < 0.001), but the increase was more pronounced in controls (P < 0.001) and food and fluid intake did not influence that effect. At the end of the experiment, aromatase expression increased in the AT (318.5 +/- 60.6% of control in scAT, P < 0.05, and 285.5 +/- 82.9% of control in vAT, P < 0.01). AT of GT-treated rats had a higher percentage of proliferating cells (204.1 +/- 19.5% of control in scAT, P < 0.01, and 246.6 +/- 50.2% of control in vAT, P < 0.01) and smaller adipocytes (78.3 +/- 1.7% of control in scAT, P < 0.001, and 87.9 +/- 3.2% of control in vAT, P < 0.05). GT also increased the number of apoptotic cells in vAT (320.4 +/- 21.9% of control; P < 0.001). These results suggest new mechanisms for GT on body weight and highlight its potential benefit to prevent or treat obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans.
Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I.

Health Care Food Research Laboratories, Kao Corporation, 2-1-3, Bunka, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, 131-8501, Japan.

OBJECTIVE: The body fat reducing effect and reduction of risks for cardiovascular disease by a green tea extract (GTE) high in catechins was investigated in humans with typical lifestyles. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Japanese women and men with visceral fat-type obesity were recruited for the trial. After a 2-week diet run-in period, a 12-week double-blind parallel multicenter trial was performed, in which the subjects ingested green tea containing 583 mg of catechins (catechin group) or 96 mg of catechins (control group) per day. Randomization was stratified by gender and body mass index at each medical institution. The subjects were instructed to maintain their usual dietary intake and normal physical activity. RESULTS: Data were analyzed using per-protocol samples of 240 subjects (catechin group; n = 123, control group; n = 117). Decreases in body weight, body mass index, body fat ratio, body fat mass, waist circumference, hip circumference, visceral fat area, and subcutaneous fat area were found to be greater in the catechin group than in the control group. A greater decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was found in the catechin group compared with the control group for subjects whose initial SBP was 130 mm Hg or higher. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was also decreased to a greater extent in the catechin group. No adverse effect was found. DISCUSSION: The continuous ingestion of a GTE high in catechins led to a reduction in body fat, SBP, and LDL cholesterol, suggesting that the ingestion of such an extract contributes to a decrease in obesity and cardiovascular disease risks.

Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial.
Auvichayapat P, Prapochanung M, Tunkamnerdthai O, Sripanidkulchai BO, Auvichayapat N, Thinkhamrop B, Kunhasura S, Wongpratoom S, Sinawat S, Hongprapas P.

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, 40002, Thailand.

This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais. A randomized, controlled trial involving 60 obese subjects (body mass index, BMI > 25 kg/m2) was conducted. All subjects consumed a Thai diet containing 3 meals (8373.6 kJ/day) for 12 weeks, prepared by the Nutritional Unit at Srinagarind Hospital. The diet contained 65% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 20% fat. Body weight, BMI, body composition, resting energy expenditure, and substrate oxidation were measured at baseline, and during weeks 4, 8, and 12 of the study. Serum levels of leptin and urine VMA were measured at baseline and during the 12th week. Differences over time and between the treatments (green tea or placebo) over time were determined using two-factor ANOVA with repeated measures. In comparing the two groups, differences in weight loss were 2.70, 5.10, and 3.3 kg during the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks of the study, respectively. At the 8th and 12th weeks of the study, body weight loss was significantly different (P < 0.05). At the 8th week, the difference in resting energy expenditure was 183.38 kJ/day (P < 0.001), the difference in the respiratory quotient was 0.02 (P < 0.05), and no significant differences existed in satiety score, food intake, or physical activity. Urine VMA was significantly different in the 12th week of the study (P < 0.05). We conclude that green tea can reduce body weight in obese Thai subjects by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation.

The effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate on thermogenesis and fat oxidation in obese men: a pilot study.
Boschmann M, Thielecke F.

Universitary Medicine Berlin, Charité Campus Buch, Franz-Volhard-Center for Clinical Research, D-13125, Berlin, Germany.

OBJECTIVES: The development of obesity is characterized by an increase in adipose tissue mass and by concomitant and profound changes in almost all organ functions leading to diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. Recent data from human studies indicate that the consumption of green tea and green tea extracts may help reduce body weight, mainly body fat, by increasing postprandial thermogenesis and fat oxidation. However, human studies investigating the metabolic effects of the most predominant tea catechin, EGCG, alone are absent. METHODS: In a randomized double blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over pilot study, six overweight men were given 300 mg EGCG/d for 2d. Fasting and postprandial changes in energy expenditure (EE) and substrate oxidation were assessed. RESULTS: Resting EE did not differ significantly between EGCG and placebo treatments, although during the first postprandial monitoring phase, respiratory quotient (RQ) values were significantly lower with EGCG compared to the placebo. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that EGCG alone has the potential to increase fat oxidation in men and may thereby contribute to the anti-obesity effects of green tea. However, more studies with a greater sample size and a broader range of age and BMI are needed to define the optimum dose.

Green tea extract thermogenesis-induced weight loss by epigallocatechin gallate inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase.
Shixian Q, VanCrey B, Shi J, Kakuda Y, Jiang Y.

South China Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.

Epidemiological studies have shown that intake of tea catechins is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The antioxidative activity of tea-derived catechins has been extensively studied. Reports have shown that green tea extract intake is associated with increased weight loss due to diet-induced thermogenesis, which is generally attributed to the catechin epigallocatechin gallate. That catechin-polyphenols are known to be capable of inhibiting catechol-O-methyltransferase (the enzyme that degrades norepinephrine) is a possible explanation for why the green tea extract is effective in stimulating thermogenesis by epigallocatechin gallate to augment and prolong sympathetic stimulation of thermogenesis. Knowledge about thermogenesis-induced weight loss produced by green tea's epigallocatechin gallate and its ability to inhibit catechol-O-methyltransferase is important for health benefits and for prolonging the action of norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft.
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