Green Tea's possible effects on hyperlipidemia.




Ann Epidemiol

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Green tea has long been used in much of the world as a popular beverage and a respected medicinal agent. Early Chinese medical literature lists green tea as an agent to promote digestion, improve mental faculties, decrease flatulence and regulate body temperature. The earliest known record of use dates back to around 2700 B.C. Today, ceremonies, celebrations, relaxation time and ordinary meals usually consist of tea in most parts of the world, except where coffee has become the more popular beverage, like the United States.

A recent study investigated the effects of green tea on serum lipids and lipidproteins. Lipids are a fat like substance and are found in the blood. Since oil and water do not mix, fats do not travel in the blood in their free form. Instead, they are bundled together with other substances for transport through the blood vessels and delivery to destinations where they are needed in the body. Cholesterol and other fats are shipped in the form of fat-protein packages called "lipoproteins." Four groups of lipoproteins use the bloodstream as an aqueduct: LDL, VLDL, HDL, and chylomicrons. The protein portion of a lipoprotein forms a sort of shell around the fat and also directs the lipoprotein to its appointed delivery site in tissues and organs.

This study was conducted in Japan and included over 13,000 individuals. All these individuals had attended one specific medical institution between 1995 and 1996 and did not have any critical cholesterol problems. In addition to answering a questionnaire regarding green tea intake, the cholesterol levels of those involved were also recorded. Over 86% of the individuals consumed green tea on a regular basis. The consumption of green tea was statistically and notably related to lower levels of total cholesterol in both men and women. This consumption however, was not related to higher HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) levels. Adjustments were made such as dietary factors, body mass index, and age among others, and this correlation remained significant. This relationship was not seen in those drinking 10 or more cups of green tea daily. After final adjustments men saw a decrease by 0.010 mmol/L and women by 0.012 mmol/L.1


1. Tokunaga S. Green tea consumption and serum lipids and lipidproteins in a population of healthy workers in Japan. Ann Epidemiol. Apr 2002;12(3):157-65.