I have been taking green tea extract for some time now and I felt that it was beneficial to me. But it wasn’t until I did some serious research that I discovered that a score of recent studies (with more coming out all the time) indicate that there may be even more health benefits to drinking green tea than I even realized. I’m committed to taking the product.
By the way, don’t assume you’ll get the same results by drinking any tea. Green tea extract happens to be high in EGCG, an antioxidant that has powerful effects on the body. Other types of tea, including black tea and even liquid green teas, may not contain as much EGCG (it stands for epigallocatechin gallate but most people just use the shorter version, easier to pronounce).
Disclaimer: none of this is meant to substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor before taking any new medication or herbal preparation.
What is green tea extract?
In short, it is a very intense form of green tea, usually in pill or capsule form. This is the way I prefer to take mine and I’ll explain why – soon. Many capsules of green tea can be taken by people who can’t tolerate caffeine (although some people who are sensitive to caffeine may not tolerate it). The green tea extract capsules I take have as much EGCG as 10 cups of tea and the pills are quicker to take. Imagine trying to drink 10 cups of tea per day!
According to the website for Sloan-Kettering, located here: www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69247.cfm at least 40% of green tea extract is made up of EGCG, a free radical which is even more powerful than vitamins A and C when it comes to helping the body. According to the information at Sloan-Kettering, moderate consumption of this product appears safe. It is 25 to 100 times stronger in anti-oxidants than vitamins A, C and E! This is not just my opinion but borne out by research study after research study.
Green tea extract has routinely been used to lower cholesterol (LDL-C) as well as keep hypertension under control. It may reduce mortality during heart attacks.
These are some common benefits. Also, according to information at a noted site for thyroid patients and those with thyroid conditions, thyroid.about.com/cs/dietweightloss/a/greentea.htm the extract can also raise metabolism and help with weight loss. Based on my personal experience, I did find I lost an extra pound per week while taking green tea extract.
Researchers believe that the extract helps increase metabolism and burn fat. Again, this was just my own personal experience but my cellulite was noticably reduced after a month using the green tea extract. This was during a time when I could not exercise due to a stress fracture in my foot so exercise would not explain those results. I am convinced the extract had some effect and I did lose weight more quickly without reducing my calories. I was on a diet but I didn’t change my caloric intake from the usual diet.
My doctor happens to feel that green tea extract is better for thyroid patients than many other products, including those with massive amounts of caffeine. Also, it may be safer than products like Hoodia and/or prescription drugs for obesity because it does not stimulate the adrenal glands of thyroid patients. I have low thyroid. This fact is important to me. Again, anyone should consult with his or her doctor before taking any product. However, I feel very safe when it comes to green tea extract. It has been studied by the FDA and the subject of many medical studies.
EGCG helps to neutralize harmful free radicals and peroxides in the body. Again, it does this better than even Vitamins A, C and E. Stressful condition, exposure to toxins and other events or situations can create free radicals. I think of taking green tea extract as a helpful preventative measure for those unpredictable or uncontrollable stressful times in my life. I think it helps a great deal.
Other benefits of green tea extract:
Many studies have focused on using the product for weight loss, cancer prevention and even treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. As noted, I have had success blending it with my thyroid treatment plan. Some cardiologists find it beneficial for their heart patients. These are some of the more common uses for green tea extract.
Recent research studies and lesser known uses for green tea extract:
Because most of these studies are fairly recent, I urge readers to keep up with the latest information. Still, results are promising and the increase in research focused on green tea extract seems to indicate that doctors and medical researchers are finding some very promising results in these studies. Until now, I wasn’t aware of some of the less recognized ways that this product could help people.
Consider Huntington’s Disease, a hereditary condition that often leads to jerky spasms in the hands and feet and progresses to total immobility and death. At this site, www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp research studies are cited which indicate that green tea extract may help to retard the growth or build-up of proteins that worsen Huntington’s Disease. The study also noted that a “growing body of research” indicated that green tea extract had many potential benefits. If used early on, it might significantly reduce the rate at which Huntington Disease progresses.
Is it a cure? Or course not. But it may be very helpful in increasing the lifespan and well-being of those who have Huntington’s Disease. Research is still progressing in this area.
Another lesser known benefit of green tea extract? Protecting against bile stones and Alzheimer’s disease. You can find this information at the nutraingredients site noted above or here: www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp Simply scroll down the page to find related studies, many brand new. As with the other studies, the main ingredient which helped was the EGCG found in green tea. In some research studies, drinking green tea or taking the extract lowered the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 50%.. For those of you who prefer black tea, you might be interested in knowing the same benefits were not found. It is the EGCG that seems to be the primary difference between green tea extract and other types and forms of tea.
Forms of green tea extract and the price:
I take Green Tea Mega EGCG. You can see this product at Amazon.com at www.amazon.com I like the fact that this is safe for vegetarians and that it has very high levels (but still within safe range) of EGCG. It doesn’t have byproducts or chemicals that I don’t want or need. However, I do feel a slight buzz from this (very slight) if I take it on an empty stomach so I wonder about the stimulant effect. If I’m tired, it isn’t enough to wake me up or anything like that. If I’m wide awake, it will give me a slight bit more energy. This actually makes sense for a product that is supposed to raise metabolism and help with weight loss.
It costs $16.99 for about 100 capsules. However, you can do a search and find it for much less at some health food stores. Just be sure you get a product with an excellent recommendation and reviews and consult with your doctor and perhaps a nutritionist first. I look for products which are high in EGCG and polypehenols and catechins, all helpful to the body.
Other forms of green tea extract: For those who have trouble with pills or capsules, you can find green tea extract in liquid form. You can then add it to drinks or water. I prefer pills and a standardized dosage.
Cautions: As with many foods and medications, green tea extract can interact with some medicines, including codeine. For this reason, you should always talk with pharmacists and doctors about potential side effects. I take an unrelated medication which I can never take with grapefruit juice. So be clear about what medications you take and always tell your doctor before taking green tea extract. Having noted that caution, I have found it to have no negative effects and certainly far less harmful than the Vytorin I took at one point. I notice nothing negative and only positive things from green tea extract.