Maximize Green Tea's Health BenefitsMay 2019
By Susan Weil
Validation of the whole-body benefits of green tea continues to grow.1-6
A human study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming 5 or more cups of green tea daily was associated with a 26% lower risk of cardiovascular death.1
A meta-analysis found that for every 500 ml-per-day increase in green tea consumption (about 3 cups), the risk of cognitive disorders decreased 29%.2
The most impressive published data shows meaningful reductions in risks of certain cancers in those who consume the most green tea.
Published studies largely focus on a compound found in green tea leaves called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Several other compounds in green tea have also demonstrated health benefits.7-14 For many people, obtaining these other compounds has been difficult.
Using a patented technique,15 a new highly absorbable extract provides 8 different green tea catechins.
This novel extract enables people to easily obtain the catechin content
equivalent of drinking up to 12 cups of standard green tea.
In 1992, Life Extension® published an article describing significant health benefits in people who consumed large quantities of green tea beverages.
While drinking green tea throughout the day is popular in Japan, it was challenging for people in Western cultures to adapt to this practice.
One reason large amounts of tea need to be consumed are absorption issues. It requires a lot of tea to boost blood levels of disease-fighting green tea polyphenols.
This led to massive research efforts to develop extracts from green tea leaves. This research yielded concentrated powders of active polyphenols that were more absorbable than green tea beverages.
Unlike FDA-regulated prescription drugs, free market forces drove down the price of standardized green tea extracts to where they became one of the better values on the dietary supplement marketplace.
Relentless research has advanced this absorption technology to a new level. Health conscious consumers can now benefit from higher potencies of a broader spectrum of green tea polyphenols.
What Are Catechins?
Green tea comes from leaves that have not yet oxidized to become black tea.
These leaves contain a rich mixture of polyphenols called catechins (pronounced cat-eh-kins).
The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), accounting for as much as 65% of all green tea catechins.17
Thousands of published studies describe the benefits of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Scientists have identified other green tea catechins that also contribute to its long list of health benefits. These additional catechins are:7-14
- Catechin gallate
- Epicatechin gallate
- Gallocatechin gallate
In animal and human studies, greater green tea consumption and increased catechin intake are correlated with improvements in health and reduced disease risks, including:
- Reduced cancer incidence,
- Reduced incidence of heart attack, stroke, and metabolic disease,
- Protection of brain function, and more.2,17-27
New Green Tea Extract
To provide a broader range of beneficial catechins, scientists have developed a novel green tea extract that delivers 8 different catechins that can be efficiently absorbed by the body.15
The process starts with non-genetically modified (non-GMO) tea plants grown in a pristine, remote, mountain environment in South Africa.
Within just 6 hours of harvest, the fresh, live tea is processed at the same location by a patented extraction process which “unlocks” 8 catechins naturally found in tea, making them more available for optimal absorption in the body.
The catechins are then formulated into plant-derived liposomes, tiny spherical structures that can easily pass through cell membranes, allowing greater absorption directly by the cells in the body. That means an individual can now obtain and absorb a greater amount of green tea’s benefits from a smaller amount of tea.
By using these special techniques, the green tea extract can stay in the body for up to 24 hours, allowing for greater absorption of all 8 green tea catechins.16
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Green tea consumption correlates with reductions in risk factors for several major cardiovascular diseases. Among its benefits:3,4,19,28
- Lower blood pressure. Among adults without hypertension, tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing it—46% lower for people who regularly drink 1-5 cups per day and 65% lower for those drinking more than 5 cups per day.4 In individuals with existing hypertension, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 6.4% after 12 weeks of drinking a beverage with green tea extract containing a mixture of catechins.3
- Improvement in cholesterol levels. LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels were reduced in green tea drinkers.3,19,28,29 In a 2018 study, obese and overweight women who received a green tea extract rich in multiple catechins for 6 weeks experienced an average (modest) 4.8% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels.29
- Reduction in body fat and obesity. Individuals who, on a daily basis for 12 weeks, consumed a beverage with a green tea extract, containing a mixture of catechins, had a 10.3% and 9.4% reduction, respectively, in total body-fat mass and visceral-area fat. Waist circumference was also reduced by 1 inch.3
Green tea also supports blood vessel health and maintains healthy blood flow. It does this by:19
- Preventing vascular inflammation, which can contribute to development of atherosclerosis, a harmful buildup of plaque in the arteries,
- Inhibiting the abnormal proliferation of smooth muscle cells, also associated with hardening of the arteries and progression of atherosclerosis,
- Reducing dysfunction in the endothelial cells (which line the interior surface of blood vessels), helping to maintain healthy arterial malleability and blood pressure, and
- Reducing adhesion of platelets to blood vessel walls, suggesting that it may prevent dangerous clots that block blood flow and can cause stroke and/or heart attack.
The net effect of these benefits is that green tea intake is strongly associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
A large, prospective study of human subjects, followed long-term, was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).1 In more than 40,000 individuals, those who consumed more than 5 cups of green tea daily benefited from as much as 26% lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes compared to people who drank less than one cup daily.1
Researchers for many years have focused on green tea’s unique, multiple anti-cancer benefits.
The catechins in green tea have shown an ability to fight cancer in multiple ways.18,30
In addition to powerful free-radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory effects, which help protect cells from harmful mutations that can lead to cancer, several green tea catechins demonstrate a wide range of other benefits, including:
- Killing cancer cells. Green tea catechins trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells, but not in healthy cells.7,8,18,30
- Stopping cancer growth. The progression of cancer is often aided by various growth factors and the pathways they activate in the growing tumor. Green tea catechins have been found to block several of these signaling pathways and their effects.18,30,31
- Keeping tumors from getting nutrients. For tumors to grow, they require new blood vessel growth to supply nutrients. Catechins from green tea block the formation of new tumor blood vessels and starve the tumor cells of the nutrients they require.32,33
- Blocking cancer activation. Cellular stress can promote tumor growth by activating the pro-inflammatory signaling pathway NF- kB (nuclear factor-kappaB). Studies have shown that suppressing NF-kB activation can help lower pro-cancer signaling. Experiments have shown that green tea can reduce tissue inflammation and retard the progression of cancer cells.7,18,30
Animal and cell studies have shown that green tea is associated with protection from various forms of cancer, including some of the most common, such as breast, prostate, lung, colon, and skin cancer.18,34-36
Slightly Improved Blood Sugar Control
Chronically elevated blood glucose levels can progress into diabetes and can be a factor in a myriad of degenerative diseases.37,38 Over time, it causes damage to almost all tissues in the body, greatly accelerating aging and increasing the risks for many age-related diseases.
Dietary changes and weight loss are often recommended to improve control of glucose levels. The catechins in green tea can also aid the body in processing glucose and preventing the harmful effects of elevated glucose.
A group of researchers performed a pooled analysis of 17 randomized human trials of green tea extract (using both beverage and capsules) for glucose control.21 Overall, these studies found that intake of green tea extract modestly reduced glucose levels (on average by almost 2 mg/dL).
Green tea extract was found to lower values of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a measure of long-term glucose control. Higher levels of HbA1c result in greater incidences of diabetic complications. HbA1c is often used to track progress in the treatment of patients with diabetes.
Green tea trials show an average HbA1c reduction of 0.3%—a notable amount, since less than a 1% difference in HbA1c can mean a significant difference in disease risk.21,39
These studies demonstrate that green tea doesn’t just slightly lower blood glucose, it helps maintain healthy levels over time.
Protecting Against Neurodegeneration
Neurodegenerative disorders such as mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s are growing increasingly common. Unchecked, they rob the aging population of brain function, particularly cognitive abilities such as memory and attention.
Several studies have confirmed the link between tea consumption and protection from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease.20,22,23
A team of researchers in China recently performed a meta-analysis, pooling results from several well-designed studies including more than 48,000 participants.2 What they found is that higher consumption of tea was associated with lower odds of cognitive disorders.
When researchers went further and looked at the effects of specific types of tea, they found that only green tea, not other types such as black tea or oolong tea, remained a significant predictor of beneficial cognitive outcomes. Green tea was associated with 36% lower odds of developing cognitive disorders.2
Several other studies have revealed similar findings, not just for cognitive decline and dementia but also for other neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.17,20,22-24
Green tea is rich in an assortment of healthful plant compounds known as catechins.
Studies consistently demonstrate that higher intake of green tea and its catechins is associated with lower risk for common age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cognitive dysfunction, and cancer.
It’s difficult and impractical to drink the large volume of green tea required to maximize its benefits. Green tea extracts make it far easier to increase catechin intake.
A new broad-spectrum green tea extract provides 8 different, highly bioavailable catechins. Encapsulating them in easily-absorbed liposomes further enhances their stability and bioavailability and equates to drinking the catechin content equivalent of up to 12 cups of standard green tea.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
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- Liu X, Du X, Han G, et al. Association between tea consumption and risk of cognitive disorders: A dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 27;8(26):43306-21.
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- Yang YC, Lu FH, Wu JS, et al. The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jul 26;164(14):1534-40.
- Qi H, Li S. Dose-response meta-analysis on coffee, tea and caffeine consumption with risk of Parkinson’s disease. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2014 Apr;14(2):430-9.
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- Kurbitz C, Heise D, Redmer T, et al. Epicatechin gallate and catechin gallate are superior to epigallocatechin gallate in growth suppression and anti-inflammatory activities in pancreatic tumor cells. Cancer Sci. 2011 Apr;102(4):728-34.
- Stadlbauer S, Steinborn C, Klemd A, et al. Impact of Green Tea Catechin ECG and Its Synthesized Fluorinated Analogue on Prostate Cancer Cells and Stimulated Immunocompetent Cells. Planta Med. 2018 Jul;84(11):813-9.
- Carnevale R, Loffredo L, Nocella C, et al. Epicatechin and catechin modulate endothelial activation induced by platelets of patients with peripheral artery disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:691015.
- Noll C, Lameth J, Paul JL, et al. Effect of catechin/epicatechin dietary intake on endothelial dysfunction biomarkers and proinflammatory cytokines in aorta of hyperhomocysteinemic mice. Eur J Nutr. 2013 Apr;52(3):1243-50.
- Stringer TP, Guerrieri D, Vivar C, et al. Plant-derived flavanol (-)epicatechin mitigates anxiety in association with elevated hippocampal monoamine and BDNF levels, but does not influence pattern separation in mice. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Jan 6;5:e493.
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- Zhang Z, Wu H, Huang H. Epicatechin Plus Treadmill Exercise are Neuroprotective Against Moderate-stage Amyloid Precursor Protein/Presenilin 1 Mice. Pharmacogn Mag. 2016 May;12(Suppl 2):S139-46.
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