How Green Tea Extract Affects Cholesterol in Women

green tea extract affects cholesterol in women

Consumers are used to hearing about the weight loss and antioxidant virtues of green tea extract, but evidence that this natural remedy can have a positive effect on cholesterol has been short changed. Now a new study has found that green tea extract can be beneficial for women concerned about their cholesterol.

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Unhealthy levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are considered risk factors for a variety of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, coronary artery disease, and stroke, and increases the risk of gallstones. High cholesterol is also a factor in diabetes.

Green tea extract effect on cholesterol

The new study was a collaborative effort between experts from the University of Minnesota, the University of Southern California, and the University of Pittsburgh. A total of 936 healthy postmenopausal women completed the placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-arm trial, which was conducted to determine the effect of green tea extract on blood lipid levels.

The women were randomly assigned to take either four decaffeinated green tea extract capsules or placebo capsules daily for 12 months. Total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides were measured before the study and at months 6 and 12.

Each daily dose of green tea extract provided 1,315 mg catechins, antioxidants commonly found in green tea. The majority (843 mg) of the catechins were epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG), which is the most potent of the catechins; the remaining amounts were 202 mg epicatechin (EG), and 107 mg each of epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin (EGC).

Compared with placebo, use of green tea extract resulted in the following after one year:

  • Total cholesterol: 2.1% decline among green tea users vs a 0.7% increase among placebo users. The decline in total cholesterol was significant only in women who had high baseline values
  • LDL cholesterol: 4.1% decline vs a 0.9% increase
  • Non-HDL cholesterol: 3.1% decline vs a 0.4% increase
  • HDL cholesterol: no change was noted

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The authors also observed an increase in triglyceride levels among some of the women who took the green tea extract and a decline among those who took placebo. The increase in triglycerides was seen mostly among women who used statins and who were obese.

According to the researchers, it’s still unclear exactly how EGCG and green tea extract lower lipids. However, “the hypothesized mechanisms are through the suppression of cholesterol biosynthesis, the interference of lipid absorption, and the increase in fecal excretion of cholesterol.”

Using green tea extract

Women who are concerned about their cholesterol may want to talk to a trusted healthcare provider about taking green tea extract. Excessive amounts of green tea extract can cause liver damage, so don’t overdo it!

Generally, it is recommended taking no more than 10 mg of green tea extract per kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weight 50 kg (110 lb), you should limit your green tea extract intake to 500 mg daily. If you choose to drink green tea, you will consume approximately 80 mg of EGCG per cup.

Sources
NutraIngredients. Green tea extract supplements may improve lipid levels for women
Samavat H et al. Effects of green tea catechin extract on serum lipids in postmenopausal women: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016 Nov. 2. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.116.137075

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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