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The Green Tea Extract Advantage: 7 Science-Backed Benefits You Need to Know
As one of the most popular beverages in the world, green tea has a long history of being enjoyed for its taste, aroma, and potential health benefits. Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which naturally contains various compounds like catechins, flavonoids, and caffeine. One way to concentrate some of these compounds is by using green tea extract, which is a supplement made from the dried leaves that are processed with water or alcohol to extract the active ingredients. In this blog post, we will explore the science behind the green tea extract advantage and highlight some of the potential benefits that have been studied in humans and animals.
Section 1: Antioxidant power of green tea extract
One of the main reasons why green tea extract has gained attention from both researchers and consumers is its potent antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize harmful free radicals that can damage DNA, proteins, and lipids in the body and contribute to aging and diseases. Green tea extract contains high levels of polyphenols, especially catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that have been shown to scavenge free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress. For example, a 2019 review of 29 studies found that green tea extract supplementation increased antioxidant capacity in healthy adults and patients with metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes. Another study from 2017 found that green tea extract reduced oxidative stress and inflammation markers in older women with knee osteoarthritis.
Section 2: Weight management with green tea extract
Another potential benefit of green tea extract is its ability to support weight loss and weight management. Obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, and affects millions of people worldwide. Green tea extract may help in several ways, such as by boosting metabolism, reducing appetite, and enhancing fat oxidation. A meta-analysis of 11 studies published in 2013 concluded that green tea catechin consumption significantly reduced body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference in overweight and obese subjects. Another meta-analysis of 17 studies published in 2020 found that green tea extract supplementation increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation, especially when combined with exercise.
Section 3: Brain performance and mood enhancement with green tea extract
Besides physical health, green tea extract may also benefit mental health and cognitive function. The brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to function properly, and any disruption or damage can impair memory, attention, mood, and other mental processes. Green tea extract may improve brain circulation, protection, and repair, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and the presence of caffeine and L-theanine. A randomized controlled trial from 2020 compared the effects of green tea extract, caffeine, and a placebo on cognitive performance and mood in healthy adults. The study found that green tea extract supplementation improved working memory accuracy, reaction time, and alertness, without affecting mood negatively, unlike pure caffeine.
Section 4: Heart and blood vessel health with green tea extract
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death globally, and many risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation are modifiable through lifestyle changes and medication. Green tea extract may have a role in preventing or reducing some of these risk factors, by improving endothelial function, lowering blood pressure and lipids, and reducing inflammation and oxidation. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials from 2014 found that green tea consumption significantly reduced systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol, especially in East Asians. Another review from 2016 concluded that catechin supplementation, alone or in combination with other interventions, improved endothelial function and reduced markers of inflammation in patients with metabolic or cardiovascular disorders.
Section 5: Skin health and aging with green tea extract
The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects it from external insults like UV radiation, pollution, and microbes. However, aging, sun damage, and other factors can affect the structure, function, and appearance of the skin, leading to wrinkles, sagging, and discoloration. Green tea extract may help to counteract some of these effects, by supplying antioxidants, minimizing inflammation, and promoting collagen synthesis and repair. A systematic review of 23 studies from 2017 found that green tea extract consumption or topical application improved various skin parameters like hydration, elasticity, pigmentation, and roughness, in both human and animal models. Another study from 2018 observed that green tea extract reduced oxidative stress and protein damage in UV-exposed human skin cells.
Section 6: Cancer prevention and treatment with green tea extract
Cancer is a complex and heterogeneous group of diseases that arises from the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Although there is no single cure for cancer, many therapies like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can target specific aspects of the disease. Green tea extract has been investigated as a potential adjuvant treatment or preventive measure against cancer, due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pro-apoptotic effects. A systematic review of 51 studies from 2015 found that green tea polyphenols, especially EGCG, inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and suppressed angiogenesis and metastasis in various in vitro and in vivo models of cancer, including breast, lung, liver, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Another review from 2018 concluded that green tea extract had a chemopreventive potential against oral and esophageal cancers, as well as a favorable safety profile.
Section 7: Liver health and detoxification with green tea extract
The liver is an essential organ that processes and eliminates toxins, drugs, and other harmful substances from the body. However, chronic alcohol consumption, viral infections, and metabolic disorders can damage the liver cells and impair its function, leading to liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fatty liver. Green tea extract may have a beneficial effect on liver health and detoxification, by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis, and enhancing the activity of liver enzymes that metabolize drugs and toxins. A randomized controlled trial from 2019 investigated the effects of green tea extract supplementation on liver function, serum lipids, and glucose metabolism in obese women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The study found that green tea extract improved liver enzyme levels, decreased serum triglycerides, and improved insulin resistance, without causing adverse effects.
Green tea extract is a versatile and promising natural supplement that can offer multiple health benefits backed by scientific evidence. While not a cure-all or a replacement for healthy habits, green tea extract can complement a balanced diet, regular exercise, and other supportive therapies in many conditions and situations. From its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power to its potential effects on weight, brain, heart, skin, cancer, and liver health and detoxification, green tea extract can be a valuable addition to your wellness arsenal.
Q1: Is green tea extract safe to use?
A1: In general, green tea extract is considered safe when taken within the recommended dosages and durations. However, some people may experience side effects like digestive upset, headaches, insomnia, or liver damage, especially when taking high doses or combining with other supplements or medications. Consult your healthcare provider before taking green tea extract if you have any medical conditions, allergies, or concerns.
Q2: Can green tea extract help me lose belly fat?
A2: While there is no magic solution for losing belly fat, some studies suggest that green tea extract can support weight loss and body composition improvements when combined with healthy eating and exercise habits. However, the effects may vary depending on individual factors like age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle. Don’t rely solely on green tea extract to achieve your weight loss goals.
Q3: How much green tea extract should I take?
A3: The optimal dosage of green tea extract depends on various factors like the purpose, the form, and the concentration of the supplement, as well as your weight, age, and health status. As a general guideline, most studies used dosages ranging from 250 to 500 milligrams of green tea extract per day, divided into two or three doses. However, consult the label instructions or a qualified healthcare provider to find the best dosage for you.
Q4: How long does it take for green tea extract to work?
A4: The onset and duration of the effects of green tea extract may depend on several factors, such as the dose, the form, the time of administration, and the health condition or target. In general, some benefits like increasing metabolism or reducing oxidative stress may be noticeable after a few days of consistent use, while others like improving skin or liver health may take weeks or months to show. However, the effects may vary among individuals and require further research.
Q5: Is green tea extract better than green tea?
A5: Both green tea extract and green tea contain similar compounds like catechins, flavonoids, and caffeine, but in different amounts and forms. Green tea extract is a concentrated supplement that may provide higher doses of these compounds and be more convenient to use than drinking multiple cups of green tea. However, green tea also contains many other beneficial components like vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols in whole form, and may offer additional benefits like hydration and relaxation. Ultimately, the choice between green tea extract and green tea depends on personal preferences, goals, and circumstances.