Green Tea Significantly Reduces LDL (Bad Cholesterol)
Posted Aug 11 2011 3:58am
The cultivation and consumption of tea has continued, uninterrupted, for at least 12,000 years, based upon documentation from China. Today, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage throughout the world other than water. As I discuss in detail in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a lot of health claims have been made for green tea, including a decrease in the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, the available clinical and laboratory research data for green tea, unfortunately, includes multiple contradictory findings for these and other health-related claims.
As with most of the available disease prevention research that has been published so far, the majority of research data supporting beneficial health effects for green tea has been in the form of public health studies that rely upon dietary surveys or other research methodologies that produce low-level clinical research data. For this reason, new clinical research studies that rely upon prospective, randomized methods of conducting research, and which generate more valid and predictive data than survey-based studies, are essential in order to better understand the potential health benefits of green tea, if any.
A newly published paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers important information about the potential health benefits of green tea, based upon a comprehensive analysis of all previously published prospective randomized clinical research trials looking at the effects of green tea consumption on blood lipids (e.g., total cholesterol; LDL-cholesterol, also known as the “bad cholesterol;” and HDL-cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol”). A total of 14 prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research studies were identified and analyzed in this comprehensive meta-analysis.
In this meta-analysis, green tea consumption, in the form of either a tea beverage or a green tea extract, was found to significantly and consistently reduce blood levels of total cholesterol (by an average of 7.2 mg/dL) and LDL-cholesterol (by an average of 2.2 mg/dL). At the same time, green tea consumption did not significantly affect blood levels of HDL-cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”). Thus, this important meta-analysis study provides powerful, high-level research evidence that green tea does indeed significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. These effects of green tea on total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels are the same primary effects of the enormously popular statin drugs, and which have been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and stroke.
This is a powerful research study on the effects of green tea consumption on lipid profiles, because it is based solely upon data from high-level research studies, rather than the much more commonly published (and less expensive) survey-based public health studies that make up the majority of research in disease prevention. I have, for many years now, included green tea in my diet, and while the impact of green tea, if any, on cancer risk is still open to debate, studies such as this one provide compelling evidence that the regular consumption of green tea may be an important part of a cardiovascular disease prevention lifestyle.
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