A new study on patients with a cluster of heart disease risk factors found that consuming green tea extract for four weeks might reduce blood sugar levels and improve gut health by lowering inflammation and “leaky gut.”
The study’s findings were published in the journal ‘Current Developments in Nutrition.’ According to the researchers, this is the first study to look at whether the health risks associated with metabolic syndrome, which affects around one-third of Americans, may be mitigated by green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties in the stomach.
“There is a lot of evidence that drinking more green tea is connected with lower levels of cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides, but no studies have linked it to those health markers,” said Richard Bruno, senior research author and professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University.
The clinical experiment was undertaken in 40 people as a follow-up to a 2019 study that linked lower obesity and fewer health risks in mice who received green tea supplements with improved gut health.
Green tea extract significantly reduced blood sugar, or glucose, as well as intestinal inflammation and permeability in healthy adults, according to the new research.
“What this tells us is that we can decrease blood glucose in both those with metabolic syndrome and healthy people within one month, and that reducing blood glucose appears to be connected to decreasing leaky gut and decreasing gut inflammation – independent of health status,” Bruno added.
People with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the five risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues: excess belly fat, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high levels of fasting blood glucose and triglycerides, a form of fat in the blood.
The problematic thing about these risk variables that comprise metabolic syndrome is that they are frequently just slightly changed and do not yet necessitate pharmacological treatment, yet they nevertheless represent a significant danger to health, according to Bruno.
“Most doctors will initially advise patients to lose weight and exercise. Unfortunately, we know that most people are unable to adhere to lifestyle changes for a variety of reasons “He stated. “Our research aims to provide patients with a novel food-based tool to assist them control their risk of metabolic syndrome or reverse metabolic syndrome.”
For 28 days, forty individuals – 21 with metabolic syndrome and 19 healthy people – ate gummy confections containing green tea extract rich in anti-inflammatory chemicals known as catechins.
The daily intake was equivalent to five cups of green tea. In the randomised double-blind crossover study, all individuals took a placebo for another 28 days, with a month off between treatments.
Researchers validated that subjects ate a low-polyphenol diet (natural antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, teas, and spices) during the placebo and green tea extract confection periods of the trial, so any outcomes could be attributable to the effects of green tea alone.
Fasting blood glucose levels were considerably lower for all subjects after ingesting green tea extract compared to those after taking the placebo.
An examination of faecal samples revealed a decrease in pro-inflammatory proteins, indicating that the green tea administration reduced gut inflammation in all subjects. Using a method to analyse sugar ratios in urine samples, researchers discovered that green tea improved participants’ small intestinal permeability.
Gut permeability, also known as leaky gut, allows intestinal bacteria and harmful substances to enter the circulation, causing low-grade chronic inflammation.
“That absorption of gut-derived products is regarded to be a starting factor for obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are important to all cardiometabolic illnesses,” Bruno explained. “If we can increase gut integrity and eliminate leaky gut, we may be able to not only relieve the low-grade inflammation that causes cardiometabolic illnesses, but also potentially reverse them.”
“With a one-month research, we did not seek to treat metabolic syndrome,” he explained. “However, based on what we know about the underlying causes of metabolic syndrome, there is potential for green tea to be operating at least in part at the gut level to reduce the likelihood of having it or reversing it if you already have it.”