Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oolong & Green Tea help lower lipids

How Oolong Tea and Green Tea help control Lipids

Good fats. Bad fats. Everyone is concerned and for good reason. Bad fats account as a risk factor for a higher incident of coronary artery disease (heart disease) and stroke. The so-called bad fats are unhealthy dietary lipids. Watching what we eat is a complicated venture in our Western lifestyle. Many Americans fall pray to eating too much fast food or processed foods high in unhealthy lipids. There are medications on the market (e.g. WelChol and Tricor) that prevent the absorption of some of the fats we ingest, however they tend to be plagued with untoward side effects (usually gastrointestinal) and high cost. There are also "statin" (HMG coA reductase inhibitor) drugs (e.g. Lipitor & Zocor) that inhibit biosynthesis of cholesterol by the liver, but they too are complicated by liver toxicity.

A natural alternative well tolerated and palatable is the drinking of oolong tea several times per day. In a recently published double-blinded, placebo-controlled study performed by researchers at the University of Tokushima, Japan (see reference below), 12 healthy adults were asked to consume 19 grams of lipids (in the form of potato chips) after lunch and dinner for twenty days. Some in the group were given polyphenol-enriched oolong tea (750 ml) to drink and the control group was given a placebo beverage. Stool samples from each group were taken to assess fecal lipid concentrations. Lipid excretion into the feces was noted to be much higher in those that consumed the oolong tea. This also held true for the amount of cholesterol that was excreted in the feces.

In another study in Portugal published this year (2006) 29 subjects were given either water or green tea (one liter/day) to consume for four weeks and their LDL-cholesterol & HDL-cholesterol was measured. In the green tea group it was noted that 90% of the participants realized a reduction in LDL-C (8.9% mean) and in 69% a rise in HDL-C (4% mean).

It can be said that oolong tea consumption appears to be an effective way to reduce absorption of our dietary intake of lipids and cholesterol in our typical western high-lipid diets. It can also be noted that green tea is shown as an alternative to "statin" drugs to reduce LDL-C and raise HDL-Cholesterol.


"Polyphenol-enriched oolong tea increases fecal lipid excretion," Hsu TF, Kusumoto A, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2006; 60(11): 1330-6. (Address: International Public Health Nutrition, Graduate School of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima Japan).

"Green tea consumption improves plasma lipid profiles in adults," Coimbra S, Santos-Silva A, et al, Nutrition Research, 2006; 26(11): 604-607. (Address: Faculdade de Farmácia, Serviço de Bioquímica, Universidade de Porto, 4057-040 Porto, Portugal. E-Mail: ).

JP Saleeby, MD is an integrative practitioner, author of "Wonder Herbs: A Guide to Three Adaptogens" and medical director of the Emergency Department at Marlboro Park Hospital, Bennettsville, SC. He can be reached for comment at

Sharon Coopersmith-Saleeby, RT
is a pediatric respiratory therapist at MUSC in Charleston and co-writes health articles with her husband.

Submitted for publication in The Tea Experience Digest


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