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Green tea protects against weight gain in mice

Green tea protects against weight gain in mice

Friday, October 7, 2011. An article recently published online in the journal Obesity reports the finding of a team from Penn State University of a benefit for epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound that occurs in green tea, in reducing weight gain in a mouse model of obesity.

For their research, Joshua D. Lambert and his associates utilized a breed of mice susceptible to the development of diet-induced obesity, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. The mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted of a high fat diet, and half were supplemented with EGCG. After six weeks, mice that received EGCG-enhanced diets were found to have gained weight 44 percent less rapidly than those that did not receive the compound. The group that received EGCG also had a 29.4 percent increase in fecal lipids, indicating a reduction in fat absorption. In an in vitro experiment conducted by Dr Lambert's team, epigallocatechin-3-gallate was shown to inhibit the pancreas' production of lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat, with higher concentrations of EGCG providing a greater effect.

"In this experiment, we see the rate of body weight gain slows down," reported Dr Lambert, who is an assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences at Penn state. "Our results suggest that if you supplement with EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly."

"There seems to be two prongs to this," he observed. "First, EGCG reduces the ability to absorb fat and, second, it enhances the ability to use fat."

"There's no difference in the amount of food the mice are eating," Dr Lambert noted. "The mice are essentially eating a milkshake, except one group is eating a milkshake with green tea."

Although the human equivalent of the amount of EGCG used in this study would be found in ten cups of green tea per day, Dr Lambert remarked that "Human data -- and there's not a lot at this point -- shows that tea drinkers who only consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared to nonconsumers."

"Most people hit middle age and notice a paunch; then you decide to eat less, exercise and add green tea supplement."

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Tea polyphenols show potential in congenital disease

Spice up that boring broccoli for greater health benefit

An article published online on August 3, 2011 in The Journal of Biological Chemistry reveals a benefit for epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG) in the treatment of a congenital disease known as hyperinsulinism/hyperammonemia (HHS) as well as two types of tumors. Children with HHS oversecrete insulin in response to protein intake, which leads to severely depressed blood glucose levels that can result in death.

Dr Thomas Smith of The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center along with his colleagues at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia determined that EGCG and ECG can deactivate glutamate dehydrogenase, an enzyme responsible for the digestion of amino acids that is dysregulated in HHS. In a mouse model of the disease, administration of EGCG prior to an amino acid mixture prevented the decline of blood glucose levels that would have otherwise occurred. The compound also prevented a significant drop in fasting glucose levels when administered chronically to the HHS mice, indicating a reduction in insulin secretion.

Other research has shown that blocking glutamate dehydrogenase with green tea compounds helps destroy aggressive brain tumors known as gliobastomas as well as the nonmalignant tumors that grow on a number of organs in the inherited disease known as tuberous sclerosis complex disorder. In the current series of experiments involving the effects of the compounds in HHS, X-ray crystallography was used to define their atomic structure when bound to glutamate dehydrogenase.

"While these compounds from green tea are extremely safe and consumed by millions every day, they have a number of properties that make them difficult to use as actual drugs," noted Dr Smith. "Nevertheless, our ongoing collaboration with the Stanley lab shows that there are natural compounds from plants that can control this deadly disorder and, with the atomic structure in hand, can be used as a starting point for further drug design."

Life Extension Magazine® October, 2011 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine September, 2011

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