Green Tea Lowers Cholesterol, Too!

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may help further understand why green tea and its extracts have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in previous studies.

To investigate, researchers pooled data from 14 previous trials and combined them into a single meta-analysis. In each of those studies, researchers randomly divided participants into two groups: one that drank green tea or took a green tea extract for periods ranging from three weeks to three months, and one that got an inactive preparation.

Researchers found that green tea consumption—both from drinking green tea and taking a green tea supplement—could lower both total and LDL cholesterol levels.

On average, study participants who received green tea ended up with total cholesterol levels that were 7.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) lower than in the comparison group.

Their LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol dropped 2.2 mg/dL, a decrease of slightly less than two percent.

There was no difference in HDL, or “good,” cholesterol between the two groups.

The cholesterol-lowering effects of green tea may be due to chemicals known as catechins, which decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, according to the researchers.

While it is believed that there are other substantial mechanisms at play for green tea’s prevention of heart disease, it would appear that lipid reduction is a contributing factor as well.

This is great news! Heart disease is the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada and the more tools we have for prevention and treatment, the better.

Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2011.