ExerciseObesityPolyphenon ETea

The potential of green tea extract as a fat burner

Known as Polyphenon E, green tea extract is made from decaffeinated green tea, and contains catechins (antioxidants). It’s approved by the FDA to treat genital warts and is being studied to treat prostate cancer.

In healthy people, might it be used to help burn fat?

First, the details.

  • 12 healthy men performed a 30-minute cycling exercise before and after taking green tea extract and a placebo in random order.
  • The effort they were allowed to expend was 60% of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max).

And, the results.

  • Fat oxidation was 17% higher after ingestion of green tea extract vs placebo.
  • The contribution of fat oxidation to total energy expenditure after green tea oxidation was also significantly higher.
  • The insulin area under the concentration/time curve decreased significantly more with green tea extract (more efficient use of insulin).
  • And there was a concomitant increase of 13% in insulin sensitivity (the insulin secreted was better used).

The bottom line?
Taking a dose of green tea extract can increase fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men.

Professor Asker Jeukendrup from The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom puts it all in perspective.

He says, “The best way to increase the capacity to burn fat is by regular physical activity. Nutrition supplements, sold as ‘fat burners’, are often claimed to have these effects but most of them are ineffective. Therefore, the findings of this study are very exciting.”

“The green tea extract had substantial effects on fat oxidation. We now need to study this further and find out what doses are needed and what the clinical implications are for obese and diabetic patients.”

3/9/08 16:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.