News Thursday July 7, 2011

Green tea may have positive effect on cholesterol levels, medical evidence suggests

An analysis of data from a number of clinical trials has demonstrated that drinking green tea can marginally lower cholesterol.

The report was written by a team at the Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. It involved studying results from fourteen clinical trials, in which participants in one group drank or took an extract of green tea over a period of up to three months, while participants in the other group did not take any green tea.

The results of this report showed that participants who took green tea in any form had lower cholesterol levels than the comparison group by as much as 7.2mg/dL. Most significantly, LDL - known as “bad” cholesterol - was lower by 2.2mg/dL. Medical evidence suggests that the catechins that are present in green tea lower cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the gut.

These findings are important because they contribute to the ongoing research into the link between green tea and a lowered risk of heart disease. The catechins in green tea are also known to have other health benefits, including the reduction of inflamed blood vessels and the hindering of blood clots.

Despite the positive results from this report, which was printed online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, experts are cautious about whether green tea should be recommended specifically for the purpose of lowering cholesterol. Nathan Wong, professor and director of the heart disease prevention program at the University of California, spoke to Reuters Health to say that green tea “should not be recommended in place of well-proven cholesterol-lowering medicines for people with high cholesterol”.

Wong recommends that green tea “could be a useful component of a heart-healthy diet”.

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