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Green Tea

Green Tea Information

Green tea is an infusion of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and is one of the most popular beverages in the world. First cultivated in China and India, green tea was later incorporated into traditional medicine throughout Asia where it is still thought to support health and help fight disease. Recent research confirms that green tea provides significant and diverse health benefits when consumed as a beverage or as a supplement. Green tea supplements provide a very economical way to obtain all of green tea's health benefits in a more concentrated and convenient form than brewed green tea.

Green tea is very complex and contains many biologically active compounds. In supplements, extracts of green tea are usually used and preferred by customers. A green tea extract consists of green tea that has been processed to remove as much water, plant fiber and inactive constituents as possible. This concentrates levels of active compounds to a higher and more consistent level. Green tea's active ingredients fall into 2 broad categories; antioxidant flavonoids and polyphenols such as EGCG, and thermogenic compounds like like caffeine, theobromine and theophylline.

Green Tea Boosts Metabolism and Protects Cells

Many people use green tea extracts solely for their potent antioxidant properties that protect cells from wide range of damaging free radicals.1 Since no single antioxidant is able to protect against all free radicals, green tea users often also use other antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid, astaxanthin, n-acetyl-cysteine vitamin C and vitamin E. Green tea's potent antioxidant properties have also interested researchers investigating major diseases like cancer2 and diabetes.3

In addition to its antioxidant properties, green tea contains a few different types of thermogenic compounds like caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. Thermogenic compounds increase metabolism and promote thermogenesis, a process in which fat is broken down and used to fuel energy and heat production.4,5 This accounts for green tea extract's near-universal inclusion as ingredient in diet and weight loss formulas.

Using Green Tea Extract Supplements

Green tea supplements are available in capsule, powder, tablet and liquid form; capsules are the most popular choice. Many green tea extracts are available in decaffeinated versions for those who wish to avoid caffeine. Green tea extracts are typically standardized for polyphenols or EGCG content.

A wide range of dosage is used with green tea extracts, from 200-2000 mg per day. This is due to its low cost, multiple benefits and negligible toxicity. We recommend choosing a green tea extract (or product that that includes green tea extract) with a minimum 95% polyphenol content. Green tea extracts are best taken with solid food.

Side-effects and Cautions

Consult your doctor before using green tea supplements if you are taking any medication. Green tea can interfere with the absorption of iron and shouldn't be taken at the same time as iron supplements.

1. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):337-44.
2. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 May-Jun;14(3):30-3.
3. Biofactors. 2007;29(1):45-53.
4. Can J Appl Physiol. 2000 Dec;25(6):495-523.
5. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:9.

Body First

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