Monday, November 28, 2011

Research Update: Green Tea And Serum Cholesterol

Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: A meta-analysis of 14 randomized clinical trials.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011; 94:601-10.

Objective: To examine the association between green tea consumption and serum cholesterol.

Methods:  This article is a meta-analysis.  The literature was extensively searched for all research on the affects of green tea on serum cholesterol.  The analysis included 14 studies and a summary estimate was calculated.  There were a total of 1,136 subjects from the 14 studies included in this meta-analysis.

Results: Green tea significantly lowered total cholesterol by 7.2 mg/dl and significantly lowered LDL cholesterol by 2.2 mg/dl.  There was no association between green tea consumption and HDL cholesterol.

Discussion:  This is a pretty impressive finding that could have a nice effect on your risk of coronary heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S.  It is hypothesized that every 1% drop in serum cholesterol lowers risk of coronary heart disease by 3%.  Green tea is produce from the leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis.  Green tea leaves contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.   The researchers believed that substances in green tea lower serum cholesterol by inhibiting key enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis and by reducing intestinal absorption of cholesterol.   About half of the 14 studies used green tea beverages as the intervention and the other half used green tea dietary supplements in pill form.  No major adverse health effects were reported in any of the studies.

Take Home Message: If you are trying to reduce your total and LDL cholesterol, green tea may be another simple yet effective strategy.  The studies included in this meta-analysis used a variety of doses and the authors didn’t have recommendations regarding the amounts necessary to produce the desired effect.  There were no major adverse health effects reported, so it looks like a cup or 2 a day of green tea may be a safe and effective way to lower cholesterol.

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