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Green tea – multiple benefits for obesity-related hypertension

11 September, 2012

Natural Health News — Overweight people taking a high-quality green tea extract showed improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and even markers of inflammation.

Polish researchers from Poznan University of Medical Sciences studied 56 obese, hypertensive men and women who consumed either 379 mg per day of green tea extract providing 208 mg of epigallocatechin gallate, (EGCG one of the major polyphenols in green tea), or placebo over a three-month period.

The green tea group had an average drop in systolic pressure (top number) of 4.9 points and an average drop in diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 4.7 points. In contrast, the placebo group experienced a drop of only around 0.5 points in both measurements.

Beyond blood pressure

The researchers also reported significant improvements in both insulin and blood sugar levels in the green tea group, but no improvements in the participants taking the placebo.

In addition they measured levels of CRP or C-reactive protein — an indication of inflammation. The higher the blood level of CRP, the higher the level of inflammation, and this in turn is a risk factor for most degenerative diseases.

The green tea lowered CRP by almost 1 point — a significant change — indicating less inflammation in the test group. In the placebo group, CRP measurement actually increased.

Synergistic antioxidants

Green tea contains between 30 and 40% polyphenols, potent antioxidant compounds. The four major antioxidants found in green tea are:

  • Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG
  • Epigallocatechin or EGC
  • Epicatechin gallate or ECG
  • Epicatechin or EC

In their natural form, all four of them work together to help prevent and fight against disease. However, most of the research, including this study, tends to focus on the benefits of EGCG, on its own.

Writing in the journal Nutrition Research, the authors say they believe that this is the first green tea extract trial involving obese and hypertensive individuals and that “green tea extract had a significant influence on cardiovascular risk factors such as insulin resistance, blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with obesity-related hypertension.”