Green tea has long been cited for its potential health benefits. Now, a new study examines green tea extract and finds that it can help lower blood sugar levels.
It may also reduce intestinal inflammation, according to research.
Green tea is known for its long list of potential health benefits, such as improved brain function and protection against cancer. Now, new research in people with a handful of heart disease risk factors shows that ingesting green tea extract for four weeks may also reduce blood sugar and gut inflammation. The researchers say this is one of the first studies to assess whether the health risks of metabolic syndrome can be mitigated by green tea.
Green tea is known to be a rich source of antioxidants, substances that help fight inflammation in the body. Now we’re learning more about how green tea can positively impact the gut. In a new study, researchers set out to examine the effects of green tea on gut health. Leaky gut allows bacteria and other toxins to enter the bloodstream, which leads to inflammation.
This study published in Current Developments in Nutrition included 40 participants, 21 with metabolic syndrome and 19 healthy adults. They were given green tea extract for 28 days, followed by a placebo for 28 days, with a month off the supplements between treatments. The researchers found that the participants’ fasting blood sugar levels were lower in those who took the green tea extract than in those who took the placebo. Green tea treatment also reduced intestinal inflammation, signaled by a decrease in inflammatory proteins in the stool.
Study co-lead author Richard Bruno, PhD, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said the results showed benefits after one month.
“What this tells us is that within a month we are able to reduce blood sugar in people with metabolic syndrome and in healthy people, and that the reduction in blood sugar appears to be linked to decreased leaky gut and reduced gut inflammation, regardless of health status,” he said in a statement.
“This could be a simple yet powerful intervention for people with metabolic syndrome or those at risk. It could be a starting therapy as we continue to promote healthy lifestyle changes.”
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
It results from several conditions occurring together that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood pressure, excess fat around height and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Up to one in three American adults has metabolic syndrome. One of the main risk factors for metabolic syndrome is that it is triggered by “leaky gut”.
High blood sugar can damage the gut barrier, causing leaky gut, which in turn can contribute to metabolic syndrome. Traditionally, if a patient is at risk for metabolic syndrome, they are advised to make lifestyle changes, including changing their diet and losing weight, which can be difficult for a variety of reasons. The results of this study are promising and may offer a new tool to help manage patients at risk for metabolic syndrome. The antioxidants in green tea can help fight cell damage and inflammation for better gut and overall health.
Green tea has been used for medicinal purposes in China and Japan for millennia. It is safe to consume up to eight cups of green tea per day when consumed as a drink, and up to six cups per day for pregnant women.
Green Tea Health Risks
Drinking too much green tea or ingesting too much green tea extract can have some unwanted side effects. A cup of green tea contains 28 milligrams of caffeine. This figure is much lower than that of coffee, which contains 96 milligrams of caffeine per cup. But if you consume green tea extract, you may ingest a high level of caffeine. We know that green tea or its compounds in drink form and in solid dose form like pills act differently in the body, and therefore have a different toxicity threshold. There have been cases of liver damage with large doses, but at a low rate.
To stay healthy
Leaky gut is not technically an accepted medical diagnosis and as such clinical data on this condition is limited. Treatments for other pathologies such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, etc. have shed light on how to treat leaky gut and metabolic syndrome. For example, a gluten-free diet can relieve symptoms, as can anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, and supplements like iron, calcium, and vitamin D. It is also helpful to avoid certain foods like foods processed foods, foods high in fats and sugars, gluten, dairy products and alcohol.
Consuming foods that contain both probiotics and probiotics can also be very helpful in promoting healthy bacteria in the gut. In addition, favor a diet low in added sugars, as this can contribute to an imbalance in the intestinal microbiome and increase chronic inflammation. Opt for a diet high in dietary fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains, as some fiber can support the growth and diversity of good microorganisms in our gut. Minimizing added sugars and consuming enough dietary fiber are also very beneficial for blood sugar control.
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