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Compared to placebo, green tea consumption reduced total and LDL cholesterol by an average of five to six points.
A meta-analysis of 20 clinical trials on green tea beverage or extract supports the notion that green tea consumption can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol). The study is published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Green tea is believed to have cholesterol-lowering potential due to active levels of catechins, compounds that reduce cholesterol absorption in the gut. Existing science, however, has yielded mixed results.
In their analysis, researchers from the University of Connecticut qualified 20 clinical trials involving 1415 adults consuming green tea itself, green tea extracts, or placebo products. Trial times ranged from 3 to 24 weeks.
Compared to placebo, green tea consumption reduced total and LDL cholesterol by an average of five to six points. Green tea itself yielded the greatest average decreases in cholesterol. Patients already at risk of high cholesterol appeared to benefit best from supplementation.
Green tea consumption, as a beverage or capsule, had no clear effect on triglycerides and HDL cholesterol (otherwise known as “good” cholesterol).
Based on the results of the meta-analysis, future research on green tea and cholesterol should focus on dosing levels of catechins, said the researchers. Their analysis included studies on a wide range of catechins-from 145 mg to 3,000 mg-and ideal dosages may exist.