Study: Green tea extract promotes gut health, lowers blood sugar

This is first study to examine green tea’s health benefits at the gut level

Metabolic syndrome affects about a third of Americans. If you’re one of them, a new study suggests a natural way to diminish the health risks linked to this condition.

“There is much evidence that greater consumption of green tea is associated with good levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides, but no studies have linked its benefits at the gut to those health factors,” Richard Bruno, senior study author and professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said in a release published in Science Daily.

People with metabolic syndrome experience at least three of the following factors: excess belly fat, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high levels of fasting blood glucose and triglycerides. These factors increase not only your risk for heart disease, but also for diabetes and other health problems.

In the Ohio State study, 21 participants had metabolic syndrome and 19 were healthy. For four weeks, everyone was given a daily gummy chew containing green tea extract. The dose equaled five cups of green tea. The participants then took no supplements for 28 days, followed by four weeks of a placebo.

Fecal and urine tests showed that after the green tea extract, all participants had significantly lower levels of fasting blood glucose, decreased gut inflammation and decreased small intestine permeability (also known as leaky gut because bacteria and toxins can enter the bloodstream).

“That absorption of gut-derived products is thought to be an initiating factor for obesity and insulin resistance, which are central to all cardiometabolic disorders,” Bruno said. “If we can improve gut integrity and reduce leaky gut, the thought is we’ll be able to not only alleviate low-grade inflammation that initiates cardiometabolic disorders, but potentially reverse them.

“We did not attempt to cure metabolic syndrome with a one-month study,” he added. “But based on what we know about the causal factors behind metabolic syndrome, there is potential for green tea to be acting at least in part at the gut level to alleviate the risk for either developing it or reversing it if you already have metabolic syndrome.”

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