Green tea extract has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including promoting gut health and lowering blood sugar levels. Research suggests that green tea extract may help to improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can help to maintain a healthy balance of microbes in the digestive system. Green tea extract may also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestive function.
Consuming green tea extract for four weeks can lower blood sugar levels and improve gut health by lowering inflammation and decreasing “leaky gut,” according to new research in people with a cluster of heart disease risk factors.
According to the researchers, this is the first study to look into whether the health risks associated with metabolic syndrome, which affects about one-third of Americans, can be mitigated by green tea’s anti-inflammatory benefits in the gut.
“There is a lot of evidence that drinking more green tea is associated with lower levels of cholesterol, glucose, and triglycerides, but no studies have linked it to those health factors,” said Richard Bruno, senior study author and professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University.
Our research aims to provide people with a new food-based tool to help them manage their risk of metabolic syndrome or reverse metabolic syndrome. Most doctors will initially advise patients to lose weight and exercise.Richard Bruno
The clinical trial was conducted in 40 people as a follow-up to a 2019 study that linked lower obesity and fewer health risks in mice that consumed green tea supplements with improved gut health. Green tea extract also reduced blood sugar, or glucose, as well as gut inflammation and permeability in healthy people, according to new research.
“What this tells us is that within one month we’re able to lower blood glucose in both people with metabolic syndrome and healthy people, and the lowering of blood glucose appears to be related to decreasing leaky gut and decreasing gut inflammation — regardless of health status,” Bruno said.
Current Developments in Nutrition recently published articles on the glucose results, as well as reduced gut permeability and inflammation. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having 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 type of fat in the blood.
The tricky thing about these risk factors that comprise metabolic syndrome is that they are frequently only slightly altered and do not yet necessitate drug management, but they still pose a significant risk 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 people with a new food-based tool to help them manage their risk of metabolic syndrome or reverse metabolic syndrome.”
For 28 days, forty participants (21 with metabolic syndrome and 19 healthy adults) ate gummy confections containing green tea extract rich in anti-inflammatory compounds known as catechins. The daily dosage was equivalent to five cups of green tea. In the randomized double-blind crossover trial, all participants took a placebo for another 28 days, with a month off between treatments.
Researchers confirmed that participants ate a low-polyphenol diet (natural antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, teas, and spices) during the placebo and green tea extract confection phases of the study, so any results could be attributed to green tea alone.
Results showed that fasting blood glucose levels for all participants were significantly lower after taking green tea extract compared to levels after taking the placebo. Decreased gut inflammation due to the green tea treatment in all participants was established through an analysis that showed a reduction in pro-inflammatory proteins in fecal samples. Using a technique to assess sugar ratios in urine samples, researchers also found that with green tea, participants’ small intestine permeability favorably decreased.
Gut permeability, also known as leaky gut, allows intestinal bacteria and toxic compounds to enter the bloodstream, causing low-grade chronic inflammation.
“That absorption of gut-derived products is thought to be an initiating factor for obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are central to all cardiometabolic disorders,” Bruno explained. “If we can improve gut integrity and reduce leaky gut, we may be able to not only alleviate but potentially reverse the low-grade inflammation that initiates cardiometabolic disorders.”
“With a one-month study, we did not attempt to cure 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 acting at least in part at the gut level to reduce the risk of developing it or reversing it if you already have it.”
Bruno’s lab is currently conducting additional analyses of microbial communities in study participants’ guts and levels of bacteria-related toxins in their blood.