Green tea might be the saving grace for adults at risk of heart disease. This is according to researchers from the Ohio State University in the United States of America, who say consuming green tea for four weeks is known to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and show improvements in gut health by lowering inflammation and decreasing “leaky gut”.
Lead researcher, Professor Richard Bruno, says that this is the first study to assess whether health risks linked to metabolic syndrome could be diminished by green tea’s anti-inflammatory benefits in the gut.
“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.”
Bruno is a professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University in the United States of America.
How green tea can benefit health
The daily dose of green tea extract amounted to five cups per day. In the study, green tea also lowered blood sugar, and decreased gut inflammation in healthy people, Bruno notes.
He says, “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.”
People living with metabolic syndrome are diagnosed with at least three of five factors that increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. This includes, excess belly fat, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high levels of blood glucose.
According to Bruno, the tricky thing about these risk factors is that they do not require drug management.
“Most physicians will initially recommend weight loss and exercise. Unfortunately, we know most persons can’t comply with lifestyle modifications for various reasons,” he says.
Researchers confirmed that participants followed a diet of fruits, vegetables, teas and spices. The results could not be attributed to green tea alone.
Green tea aids gut health
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.
“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 says. “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 says. “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.”
Bruno’s lab is completing further analyses of microbial communities in the guts of study participants and levels of bacteria-related toxins in their blood.