Does Green Tea Lower Cholesterol? Here’s the Truth!
Does green tea lower cholesterol? How much do you have to consume and how much does it actually help?
Today I’m exploring these burning issues. We all know what green tea is. Well, most of us do. It’s been touted as a health remedy for a multitude of diseases and its health benefits are legendary.
Another notch on its stick is cholesterol. Let’s look at the facts.
Shortcut for lazy readers
Ok, if you’re not interested in my fascinating journey of research I’m detailing below (shame on you!), here’s the bottom line: green tea does lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, but no evidence supports the claim that it raises HDL or that it can cut triglycerides.
Hah, now you want to know the research behind those statements don’t you? Here we go.
Green Tea and Cholesterol: The Clinical Data
Let’s ignore all the natural health sites online who all want you to guzzle green tea by the gallon for all sorts of ailments. My first stop: this green tea and cholesterol study on the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) website. Let’s get some real medical science in on the deal.
In this particular study the subjects were 13,916 workers (good counting guys!), about a 3:2 split between men and women. Ages ranged from 40 – 69 years and the study was done in Japan, spanning over 1000 workplaces.
Long story short, it was found that a slight reduction in serum total cholesterol (slightly more in women than men) could be attributed to green tea, but the green tea had no effect serum HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Also, green tea stopped having any significant effect beyond consumption of 10 cups per day. Now, most of us won’t get past 3, so never mind that.
All in all, this study shows that green tea can slightly lower total cholesterol, but nothing significant. Bottom line, you can add green tea to your diet for a little bit of aid, but it’s not going to rid you of the problem even if you drink the maximum effective dose of 10 cups a day.
But hey, let’s look at some other opinions.
Green Tea and Cholesterol: Second Opinion
On the University of Maryland’s Medical Center website their green tea entry says the following:
“Research shows that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol in both animals and people. One population-based clinical study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea.
Source: Green tea | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
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So, there we have a claim that green tea actually raises HDL cholesterol. Interesting. Let’s look for a specific study to back that up.
I tracked down yet another study performed by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing. This study concluded that green tea produced significant reductions in serum total cholesterol (confirming the Japanese study), but also found significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol concentrations.
So, now we’re getting some real health benefits. However, yet again, no significant impact was detected on HDL. Hmm.
Final Nail in the HDL Coffin
By now things are not looking good for green tea with regards to raising HDL cholesterol or cutting triglycerides. The final nail in the coffin for the “green tea raises HDL” theory is in findings published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Senior researcher Olivia Phung pooled the results of 20 clinical green tea trials, and reached the same conclusion as my bits and pieces research above: green tea measurably lowers total cholesterol and LDL, but there is no evidence to support any significant impact on HDL or triglycerides.
A final point of interest, tea itself seems to be more effective than capsules, so skip the supplements and dust off the tea pot. Also take care with your coffee consumption.
There you have it. Drink lots of green tea for a small benefit to your cholesterol. It’s not a miracle cure, but combined with a few other cholesterol busters in your diet, or a supplement like Choleslo, you should see good results.