Green Tea Extract
Green tea and black tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (also known as tea tree), but they are processed differently. Green tea is the least processed; therefore, it contains the highest concentration of antioxidant polyphenols, notably epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The polyphenols are the major components of interest that are believed to be responsible for the majority of the health benefits. Green tea extract supplements can contain a larger proportion of polyphenols than tea. One capsule, standardized to contain 90 percent polyphenols equals five cups of tea. Below are some of the many health benefits of green tea extract.
Green tea has been studied extensively in laboratory experiments, animals and people.
According to researchers at the University of Kansas, EGCG is believed to be at least 25 times more effective than vitamin E and 100 times better than vitamin C (two powerful antioxidants). Antioxidants help prevent cell damage from free radicals. It is believed by many scientists that free radicals contribute to the aging process and a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer.
It is believed that the polyphenols in green tea extract help prevent atherosclerosis, the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Green tea has been shown to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and raise good (HDL) cholesterol. In addition, it has been shown to lower triglycerides and fibrinogen, a protein involved in the formation of blood clots.
According to one study published in the March 2005 issue of Cancer Research, EGCG inhibits dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), an enzyme which healthy and cancerous cells need to grow. EGCG is similar to methotrexate, a drug used to treat certain types of cancer. However, EGCG does not bind to cells as tightly as methotrexate, so side effects are less severe on healthy cells. Studies have shown benefits in the following cancers: bladder, breast, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, pancreatic, prostate, skin and stomach.
The following are other health conditions that may benefit from green tea extract:
- Overweight and moderate obesity
- High blood pressure
- Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis
- Periodontal disease
- Diabetes (type I and II)
- Liver disease caused by toxic substances like alcohol
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Kidney disease caused by certain kidney-damaging drugs like immunosuppressants
- Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
The health benefits of green tea extract appear to be many in the treatment and/or prevention of diseases. However, before taking any type of supplement:
- Buy from a reputable company.
- Take as directed or as prescribed by a health care provider.
- Consult your health care provider if you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, are taking medications or have a medical condition.
University of Maryland Medical Center: https://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm
World’s Healthiest Foods: https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=146
Dr. Ronald Hoffman: https://www.drhoffman.com/page.cfm/118
Photo by Kerala Tourism / Flickr
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