Green tea utilizes fat to increase endurance

January 27, 2005 Printer Friendly
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Green tea utilizes fat to increase endurance


Exercise enhancement and risk precautions

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Green tea utilizes fat to increase endurance
A report published online on November 24 2004 in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology ( revealed that a green tea extract (GTE) improved endurance exercise performance by stimulating fatty acid utilization when given to laboratory animals. Scientists from Tochigi, Japan gave 8 week old mice diets containing a 0.2 percent green tea extract, a 0.5 percent extract, or an unenhanced control diet for 10 weeks. The amount of caffeine that naturally occurs in green tea extract was reduced to control for the possibility of caffeine-induced effects. Half of the control animals and all of the mice who received green tea extract were exercised in a pool twice per week during the course of the study. A second experiment used diets supplemented with low and high doses of EGCG, a polyphenol contained in green tea that has been associated with many of its benefits.

The research team found that endurance, as measured periodically by how long the mice could swim before exhaustion, was improved by 8 percent by the end of the study in the mice who received the 0.2 percent GTE diets and up to 24 percent in the mice who received the 0.5 percent diets compared to the exercised mice who did not receive the extract. The improvement in endurance was accompanied by a higher rate of fat oxidation, which increased with the higher dose of green tea extract.

While the mice who received EGCG in the second experiment also showed improved endurance compared to the control mice, the effect was not as great as that elicited by green tea extract, showing that other components of green tea may combine to produce the effect.

The polyphenols found in green tea known as catechins have been recently shown to help counteract weight gain resulting from diets high in fat by virtue of their ability to activate the break down of fats in the liver. The authors write, "Overall, observations so far suggest that thermogenesis and fat oxidation are stimulated by the intake of catechins."

Lead author Takatoshi Murase estimated that “an athlete weighing 75 kilograms (165 pounds) would have to drink about four cups (0.8 liter) of green tea daily to match the effect in our experiments.” He added, "One of our important findings was that a single high-dose of GTE or its active ingredients didn't affect performance. So it's the long-term ingestion of GTE that is beneficial."

The authors conclude that, “Although the clinical efficacy of GTE has not yet been confirmed in human studies, our results suggest that GTE may be a useful tool for improving endurance capacity.”


Exercise enhancement and risk precautions
Physical inactivity increases the risk of many chronic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancers. Studies have proven that maintaining moderate levels of physical activity (e.g., brisk walking 3 hours a week) greatly reduces the incidence of developing many chronic health conditions (Chakravarthy et al. 2002). Despite these findings, approximately one-third of adults in the United States report no leisure-time physical activity, and the prevalence of leisure-time physical inactivity is highest among those who are older (MMWR 2002).

Natural supplements have been shown to decrease the systemic inflammation that is found in many disease states and that may accompany sustained physical activity. Vitamin K helps reduce levels of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory messenger. Vitamin K also helps in the treatment of osteoporosis by regulating calcium and promoting bone calcification, a factor that is also important for athletes. The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fraction of fish oil is the best documented supplement to suppress TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-1(b), and LTB(4). Studies on healthy humans and those with rheumatoid disease show that fish oil suppresses these dangerous cytokines by up to 90% (Khalfoun et al. 1997; Weber 1997).

One supplement that has been shown to increase strength and lean body mass is creatine monohydrate. Some studies show clear-cut performance enhancement from creatine, although some do not. The general consensus is that creatine is best for activities that require explosive short duration activities, such as weight lifting or sprinting, but some endurance athletes do feel they benefit from using creatine even though the research has been contradictory on that point (Preen et al. 2001; Cox et al. 2002).

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Creatine is a non-protein amino acid found in human tissue that is synthesized from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Synthesized creatine is metabolized into phophocreatine, an important storage form used by the brain, heart and skeletal muscle.

Creatine monohydrate is a high-energy substrate that assists in muscle contraction, including the heart muscle. Adenosine triphosphate or ATP is the body’s essential energy compound, enhancing energy levels. Creatine helps to maintain higher levels of ATP, which, by absorbing hydrogen ions released into muscles during exercise, maximizes physical performance and reduces exercise fatigue. Creatine monohydrate has become popular with athletes, but it may also be beneficial for people who are nutritionally deficient, have conditions associated with low cellular energy, and those concerned with the muscular integrity of their heart.

Mega Green Tea Extract Decaffeinated Capsules

The active constituents in green tea are powerful antioxidants called polyphenols (catechins) and flavonols. Several catechins are present in green tea and account for the bulk of favorable research reports. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these catechins.

Research shows that green tea may help maintain the health of the arterial wall by reducing lipids while maintaining healthy platelet aggregation.

Green tea may also help maintain a healthy body weight. In one study, mice receiving green tea in their diets had a significant suppression of food intake, weight gain and fat tissue accumulation. Levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were lower in mice who received green tea. This study also showed that leptin levels decreased with green tea treatment, indicating that green tea may have a direct effect in reducing body weight.

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 954 766 8433 extension 7716.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
1100 West Commercial Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
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