Packed with antioxidants and bioactive compounds, green tea has emerged as one of the healthiest beverages on earth. Today, most stores offer green tea pills, green tea powder, green tea extract and everything in between. These supplements are said to facilitate weight loss, detox your body and slow down aging. Green tea alone is unlikely to help you get leaner, but it can maximize fat burning when combined with diet and exercise.
Green tea pills increase fat oxidation and rev up your metabolism. But they aren't magic diet pills. Incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle to reap the most benefits. These supplements work best when used as part of a balanced diet and workout plan.
Why Green Tea?
This beverage has been prized for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Modern research confirms green tea's health benefits. Epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and other potent antioxidants in green tea may protect against cancer, according to a November 2014 research paper published in the Journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. These antioxidants exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial and neuroprotective effects.
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The catechins in green tea may help prevent and treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases: In these clinical trials, green tea consumption has been linked to lower rates of cognitive decline. Furthermore, it may improve cognition, memory and information processing speed, keeping your brain sharp until late in life.
A review posted in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in February 2017 investigated the therapeutic benefits of green tea against smoke, pollution, pesticides and other environmental factors. The toxins in food, water and air promote the formation of free radicals.
These harmful compounds are associated with higher rates of cancer, inflammatory disorders, liver toxicity and chronic illnesses. Pesticides, for example, affect organ function and increase the risk of neurodegenerative ailments, such as Parkinson's disease.
Read more: 10 Everyday Ailments Soothed by Tea
The researchers found that EGCG and other catechins in green tea inhibit pesticide-induced cell death and protect against neuronal damage caused by pesticides. At the same time, they reduce their impact on the liver, lungs and nervous system.
The same review above shows that green tea may offset the harmful effects of smoking, including DNA damage and tumor growth. EGCG appears to be one of the most potent catechins as it exhibits strong chemopreventive, anti-cancer and antioxidant effects.
According to the Harvard Health Publishing, green tea and other types of tea may protect against heart disease, diabetes, stroke and oxidative damage. However, tea consumption alone has negligible effects on your health. The key is to incorporate it into a balanced lifestyle that emphasizes clean eating and regular exercise.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea pills are promoted as a natural weight loss aid. Again, it all comes down to your lifestyle habits. These supplements may help you get leaner, but there's nothing magic about them and they won't lead to dramatic weight loss. And if you're binging on ice cream and pizza, don't expect results.
An April 2014 review published in the Austin Journal of Clinical Medicine assessed the anti-obesity effects of green tea. As scientists point out, this beverage may facilitate weight loss and improve body composition due to its high content of caffeine and catechins.
These compounds increase fat oxidation and raise your body's core temperature while keeping you energized. Some studies suggest that green tea may also suppress appetite, reduce fat absorption and decrease fat storage.
In clinical trials, energy expenditure increased for up to 24 hours in men who took green tea extract daily. In other studies, green tea pills reduced body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood sugar levels and LDL cholesterol. Some dieters experienced significant improvements in body composition in as little as 25 days.
The bioactive compounds in green tea may also reduce visceral fat, according to the same review. This type of fat, which accumulates in the abdominal area, surrounds your internal organs. It releases pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. Drinking green tea or taking green tea pills while on a diet can help you lose belly fat and keep it off.
As the Austin Journal of Clinical Medicine points out, this beverage works best when consumed daily. Its benefits are even greater for physically active individuals. If your goal is to slim down, clean up your diet and make exercise a habit. The best time to take green tea extract for weight loss is either in the morning or before working out.
This type of tea may affect your sleep, so avoid drinking it in the evening or before bedtime. An eight-ounce cup provides about 35 milligrams of caffeine, while the same amount of coffee has up to 200 milligrams of caffeine. Some people are more sensitive than others to this compound. If you're one of them, refrain from drinking green tea or taking green tea pills after lunch.
Green Tea Extract Dosage
It's difficult to establish the exact dose of green tea extract for weight loss. According to June 2018 review published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, daily ingestion of up to 704 milligrams of EGCG from green tea daily or 338 milligrams of ECGC in supplement form appears to be safe for most adults. Dietary supplements contain green tea extract, so they are more concentrated and higher in catechins and caffeine than a cup of tea.
Most studies cited in the Austin Journal of Clinical Medicine used 100 to 600 milligrams of ECGG a day and up to 1,500 milligrams split into several doses throughout the day. No side effects have been reported.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Journal, on the other hand, states that doses equal or above 800 milligrams of EGCG per day taken in supplement form may cause adverse reactions, such as liver toxicity. Not everyone will experience side effects, though, as genetics seem to play a role in this susceptibility.
As far as dosage is concerned, most clinical trials used up to six doses of green tea extract per day — with varying amounts of EGCG. To stay safe, start with the lowest possible dose and increase it gradually. Check the labels to see the exact dose of EGCG in each pill and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Consult your doctor beforehand, especially if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
As the American Pregnancy Association points out, caffeine, one of the primary components in green tea, crosses the placenta and may not be safe for your unborn child. It also passes through to your breast milk, affecting the baby's quality of sleep.
As a rule of thumb, drink unsweetened green tea. Add stevia or a pinch of cinnamon for extra flavor. If you prefer green tea pills, look for supplements containing pure green tea extract. Organic formulas are often the best choice.
- Taylor & Francis Online: "Green Tea and Anticancer Perspectives: Updates From Last Decade"
- NCBI: "Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases"
- MDPI: "Beneficial Effects of Green Tea Catechins on Neurodegenerative Diseases"
- NCBI: "Therapeutic Properties of Green Tea Against Environmental Insults"
- Hindawi: "Implications of Green Tea and Its Constituents in the Prevention of Cancer via the Modulation of Cell Signalling Pathway"
- Harvard Medical School: "Tea: A Cup of Good Health?"
- Austin Publishing Group: "Does Green Tea Help to Fight Against Obesity? An Overview of the Epidemiological Reports"
- Sciendo: "Correlation of Visceral Fat Area With Metabolic Risk Factors in Romanian Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study"
- Science Direct: "The Safety of Green Tea and Green Tea Extract Consumption in Adults – Results of a Systematic Review"
- EFSA Journal: "Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Green Tea Catechins"
- American Pregnancy Association: "Drinking Herbal Tea During Your Pregnancy"