High cholesterol affects 42 million Americans, according to figures provided by Web MD. In addition, it’s estimated that another 63 million Americans have borderline high cholesterol. Of course, all cholesterol is not created equal, and there are good and bad varieties. The former (“good”) is known as high-density-lipoprotein, or HDL, and the latter (“bad”) cholesterol is known as low-density-lipoprotein, or LDL-C. It should probably go without saying that the latter is the one raising the most concerns.
So, what’s the link between tea and cholesterol? Glad you asked. In an article published in these pages last year we took a look at a number of studies that suggested a possible link between tea consumption and lower levels of cholesterol. If that wasn’t enough evidence for you, here’s an update, a recent study that focused on the effects of just green tea on cholesterol and came up with more promising results.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, in Beijing, China. It was actually composed of an analysis of 14 earlier studies that were carried out on a total of 1,136 participants in all. These studies were originally conducted between 1967 and 2010.
According to one interpretation of the study (presented in plain language and suitable for the layperson) participants in the various studies were given “doses” of green tea that varied anywhere from 50 mg/day to 2,500 mg/day. Although there were variations in the length, design, and other factors of each of the studies the one result they shared is that “total cholesterol and LDL-C decreased markedly in participants who consumed green tea.”
The conclusion drawn from the study was that drinking green tea or even using green tea supplements could reduce the so-called bad cholesterol without having any effect on the good cholesterol, regardless of the “dose, duration, and the previous health status of the consumer.” Catechin is the chemical in green tea and supplements thought to have this beneficial effect.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please consult your physician before starting a green tea regimen.
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