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Green Tea Catechins

Green tea catechins are four molecules, high amounts of which are present in green tea and other sources. The most potent one is EGCG. It is effective in respect to most claims and potent in a few. Any fat burning benefits are dependent on being caffeine naive.

Our evidence-based analysis on green tea catechins features 260 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Green Tea Catechins

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Green tea (Camellia Sinensis) is a plant frequently steeped in hot water and drunk as tea. It exerts most of its benefits through water-soluble polyphenols (frequently referred to as catechins) extracted from the leaves, into water, which is then consumed.

It has been implicated in benefiting almost every organ system in the body. It is cardioprotective, neuroprotective, anti-obesity, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-artherogenic, liver protective and beneficial for blood vessel health. These beneficial effects are seen in doses present both in green tea itself (as a drink) as well as from a supplemental form.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Most doses are standardized against EGCG. Although the amount of EGCG-equivalent varies from one cup of tea to another, depending on many factors (species of tea, length of steeping, time spent oxidizing), one cup of camellia sinensis green tea contains approximately 50mg of EGCG-equivalent.

Fat burning:

The benefits of green tea catechins on lipid oxidation and related fat-burning pathways are achieved in a dose dependent manner. Significant effects in humans are noted only at high doses, such as 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day (most Green Tea Extract supplements are roughly 50% EGCG). Fat burning effects are highly synergistic, almost dependent, on not consuming caffeine habitually.

Cancer Prevention:

Cancer prevention effects are quite dose-dependent, and would be better to consume all catechins (as green tea extract) rather than isolated EGCG. Minimal doses would be good (200mg or higher) but with more frequency (3+ times a day). High, frequent doses may make one prone to nausea.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects green tea catechins has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Minor Very High See all 6 studies
There appears to be a fat reducing effect associated with green tea, but it is minor and unreliable
grade-a Minor Very High See all 8 studies
There appears to be a slight but unreliable increase in fat oxidation (percentage of overall calories used coming from fatty acids rather than glucose) associated with consumption of green tea catechins
grade-b Minor - See study
Appears to somewhat increase blood flow
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
Mixed effects with somewhat of an increase, not to a remarkable magnitude
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
Mixed effects on insulin sensitivity, possible improvements seen in unhealthy persons
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
There appears to be somewhat of a reduction in LDL-C associated with consumption of green tea polyphenolics (5% or so with 500mg catechin intake)
grade-b - Very High See all 3 studies
No significant influences on metabolic rate overall
grade-c Minor - See study
Possible increase in adiponectin associated with green tea ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in fasting blood glucose is noted with green tea catechin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
Possible decrease in blood pressure noted with green tea catechin consumption
grade-c Minor - See study
A reduction in cerebral blood flow has been noted with green tea catechins; a simultaneous reduction in cognitive performance was not noted.
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed results, but may improve cognitive performance acutely in persons with poorer cognition at baseline
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in the oxidation that occurs during exercise may occur following acute ingestion of green tea catechins
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed influence on heart rate, a possible decrease secondary to weight loss and blood pressure reduction but no apparent alteration per se (possible increases with overdoses of green tea catechins)
grade-c Minor - See study
A minor decrease in insulin secretion has been noted associated with green tea catechin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in iron absorption associated with green tea catechins has been noted
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in muscle soreness has been noted with catechin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in oxygen uptake has been noted with green tea catechin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in photoprotection (protection of the skin from the sun) has been found with green tea catechin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
Oral ingestion of high dose catechins (1400mg) has been shown to improve skin quality
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in well being has been noted in unhealthy persons given green tea catechins
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in cholesterol is noted with green tea catechins, but to a small degree
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in VO2 max has been noted in untrained persons
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum estrogens
grade-c - Moderate See 2 studies
No significant influence on fasting insulin levels
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum testosterone
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on the thermic effect of food
grade-c - - See study
No apparent influence on triglycerides
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
grade-d Notable - See study
One study has found a 30% reduction in carb absorption when coingesting 4 g green tea extract.
grade-d Minor - See study
Can decrease oxidation in the body (assessed via oxidative biomarkers)
grade-d Minor - See study
Can decrease biomarkers of lipid peroxidation
grade-d Minor - See study
One study has shown that 1 g green tea catechins taken once slowed the oxidation of LDL 1 hour post-ingestion.

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Confounded with multiple tea extracts[1]

Things to Note

Other Functions:

Also Known As

Camellia sinensis, Green Tea Extract, GTE

Do Not Confuse With

Green Tea (Product)

Goes Well With

  • Quercetin (for increasing bioavailability, and preventing cancer of the lung and kidneys)

  • Fish Oil (for increasing bioavailability and reducing beta-amyloid pigmentation buildup in the brain)

  • Curcumin (for protection from colonic tumors)

  • Vitamin C (for general anti-oxidation)

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (increases Green Tea's anti-microbial properties)

  • Caffeine and Ephedrine (increases fat burning potential)

  • Capsicum Vanilloids (highly synergistic for some anti-cancer effects)

  • Green tea catechins (and other tea components (theaflavins)

  • L-Theanine (possibly alleviates cognitive decline)

  • The metabolite of CoQ10, CoQ9, in regards to enhancing anti-oxidation potential

  • Inositol Hexaphosphate (colon tumor prevention)

  • Green tea can be stimulatory

  • If steeped too long, green tea can possess a very bitter taste due to its tannin content. Tannins may not be bad inherently, but the taste is sometimes seen as a turn-off.

  • 'Green tea extract' in pills, unless processing is specified, can be as simple as a capsule of tea leaves. There is little to no difference between tea in liquid form and capsules, aside from possibly dosage and taste.

  • Although milk proteins can form complexes with green tea catechins (which makes them temporarily indigestible), these complexes are digested and the green tea is released in the intestines, so it may be absorbed. For more, see camellia sinensis.

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Click here to see all 260 references.