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Some food bioactives potentially exert anti-obesity effects. Anthocyanins (ACN), catechins, β-glucan (BG) and n-3 long chain PUFA (LCPUFA) are among the most promising candidates and have been considered as a strategy for the development of functional foods counteracting body weight gain. At present, clinical trials, reviews and meta-analyses addressing anti-obesity effects of various bioactives or bioactive-rich foods show contradictory results. Abdominal obesity is an important criterion for metabolic syndrome (MetS) diagnosis along with glucose intolerance, dyslipidaemia and hypertension. Food bioactives are supposed to exert beneficial effects on these parameters, therefore representing alternative therapy approaches for the treatment of MetS. This review summarises outcomes on MetS biomarkers in recent clinical trials supplementing ACN, catechins, BG and n-3 LCPUFA, focusing mainly on anti-obesity effects. Overall, it is clear that the level of evidence for the effectiveness varies not only among the different bioactives but also among the different putative health benefits suggested for the same bioactive. Limited evidence may be due to the low number of controlled intervention trials or to inconsistencies in trial design, i.e. duration, dose and/or the method of bioactive supplementation (extracts, supplements, rich or enriched food). At present, the question ‘Are bioactives effective in weight management and prevention of metabolic syndrome?’ remains inconclusive. Thus, a common effort to harmonise the study design of intervention trials focusing on the most promising bioactive molecules is urgently needed to strengthen the evidence of their potential in the treatment of obesity, MetS and related diseases.
Elevated postprandial hyperglycaemia and oxidative stress increase the risks of type 2 diabetes and CVD. Green tea catechin possesses antidiabetic properties and antioxidant capacity. In the present study, we examined the acute and continuous effects of ingestion of catechin-rich green tea on postprandial hyperglycaemia and oxidative stress in healthy postmenopausal women. Participants were randomly assigned into the placebo (P, n 11) or green tea (GT, n 11) group. The GT group consumed a catechin-rich green tea (catechins 615 mg/350 ml) beverage per d for 4 weeks. The P group consumed a placebo (catechins 92 mg/350 ml) beverage per d for 4 weeks. At baseline and after 4 weeks, participants of each group consumed their designated beverages with breakfast and consumed lunch 3 h after breakfast. Venous blood samples were collected in the fasted state (0 h) and at 2, 4 and 6 h after breakfast. Postprandial glucose concentrations were 3 % lower in the GT group than in the P group (three-factor ANOVA, group × time interaction, P< 0·05). Serum concentrations of the derivatives of reactive oxygen metabolites increased after meals (P< 0·05), but no effect of catechin-rich green tea intake was observed. Conversely, serum postprandial thioredoxin concentrations were 5 % higher in the GT group than in the P group (three-factor ANOVA, group × time interaction, P< 0·05). These findings indicate that an acute ingestion of catechin-rich green tea has beneficial effects on postprandial glucose and redox homeostasis in postmenopausal women.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) catechin profiles in plasma and urine following single dosing and regular ingestion of green tea are not clear. We performed a placebo-controlled intervention study with sixteen healthy volunteers to determine changes in total and free catechins after a single dose and following 1 week of twice-daily green tea. Blood and urine samples were collected before (fasting) and after (60 and 120 min for blood; 90 and 180 min for urine) drinking 200 ml of 1·5 % (w/v) green tea or water (n 8 each), and fasting samples were again collected after 7 d of 150 ml of 1 % (w/v) supplemental green tea or water twice daily. After a 4-week washout, subjects were crossed onto the other treatment and procedures repeated. Plasma results at 1 h post-ingestion showed elevated (P< 0·05) mean epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG; 310 (sd 117) nmol/l; all in free form), epigallocatechin (EGC; 192 (sd 67) nmol/l; 30 % free) and epicatechin gallate (ECG; 134 (sd 51) nmol/l; 75 % free). Fasting plasma after 7 d of regular intake showed increased (P< 0·05) EGCG (80 v. 15 nmol/l at baseline) and ECG (120 v. 40 nmol/l), with ≥ 90 % of both in their conjugated forms. Total EGC was < 10 nmol/l. Post-ingestion conjugation and renal loss of EGC and epicatechin were rapid and high, but were negligible for EGCG and ECG. In the green tea consumed, the content was EGCG >EGC >ECG, and the acute plasma response mirrored this. However, after chronic consumption there was almost no EGC found in fasting plasma, some EGCG was present, but a rather high level of ECG was maintained.
Green tea catechin has been proposed to have an anti-obesity effect. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the effect of catechin-rich green tea in combination with inulin affects body weight and fat mass in obese and overweight adults. A total of thirty subjects were divided into a control group and an experimental group who received 650 ml tea or catechin-rich green tea plus inulin. A reduction of body weight ( − 1·29 (sem 0·35) kg) and fat mass (0·82 (sem 0·27) kg) in the experimental group was found after 6 weeks, and no adverse effects were observed. After refraining from consumption for 2 weeks, sustained effects on body weight and fat mass were observed. We conclude that continuous intake of catechin-rich green tea in combination with inulin for at least 3 weeks may be beneficial for weight management.
Regular consumption of green tea may be cardioprotective. In the present study we investigated the health effects of dietary supplementation with green tea catechins and the potential modifying effect of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val/Met genotype. Subjects (sedentary males, aged 40–69 years, with BMI ≥ 28 and ≤ 38 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to consume decaffeinated green tea extract (DGT; 530 mg containing about 400 mg total catechins/capsule, twice daily) and placebo in a complete cross-over design. Ambulatory blood pressure and biomarkers of metabolic function (cholesterol, TAG, glucose and insulin) were measured at weeks 0 and 6. Although a marked increase in the concentration of plasma epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), urinary epigallocatechin (EGC) and urinary 4′-O-methyl EGC was found after DGT treatment, no effect on blood pressure or biomarkers of metabolic function was observed. However, a period × treatment interaction (P < 0·05) was detected for body-weight change. Despite a similar increase in estimated energy intake during intervention period 1, body weight decreased by 0·64 (sd 2·2) kg and increased by 0·53 (sd 1·9) kg in the DGT and placebo groups, respectively (P = 0·025), suggesting a protective effect of green tea catechins on weight gain. Additionally, the COMT Val/Met genotype influenced urinary accumulation of EGC and 4′-O-methyl EGC (P < 0·01). Mean concentrations were lower in individuals homozygous for the high-activity G-allele, possibly reflecting increased metabolic flux and a more rapid conversion to downstream metabolic species, compared with individuals carrying at least one copy of the low-activity A-allele. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and further explore the modifying effect of genotype.
Coffee and green tea are two of the most widely consumed hot beverages in the world. Their respective bioavailability has been studied separately, but absorption of their respective bioactive phenolics has not been compared. In a randomised cross-over design, nine healthy subjects drank instant coffee and green tea. Blood samples were collected over 12 h and at 24 h to assess return to baseline. After green tea consumption, ( − )-epigallocatechin (EGC) was the major catechin, appearing rapidly in the plasma; ( − )-EGC gallate (EGCg) and ( − )-epicatechin (EC) were also present, but ( − )-EC gallate and C were not detected. Dihydroferulic acid and dihydrocaffeic acid were the major metabolites that appeared after coffee consumption with a long time needed to reach maximum plasma concentration, suggesting metabolism and absorption in the colon. Other phenolic acid equivalents (caffeic acid (CA), ferulic acid (FA) and isoferulic acid (iFA)) were detected earlier, and they peaked at lower concentrations. Summations of the plasma area under the curves (AUC) for the measured metabolites showed 1·7-fold more coffee-derived phenolic acids than green tea-derived catechins (P = 0·0014). Furthermore, we found a significant correlation between coffee metabolites based on AUC. Inter-individual differences were observed, but individuals with a high level of CA also showed a correspondingly high level of FA. However, no such correlation was observed between the tea catechins and coffee phenolic acids. Correlation between AUC and maximum plasma concentration was also significant for CA, FA and iFA and for EGCg. This implies that the mechanisms of absorption for these two classes of compounds are different, and that a high absorber of phenolic acids is not necessarily a high absorber of catechins.
The health benefits of green tea (Camellia sinensis) catechins are becoming increasingly recognised. Amongst the proposed benefits are the maintenance of endothelial function and vascular homeostasis and an associated reduction in atherogenesis and CVD risk. The mounting evidence for the influential effect of green tea catechins on vascular function from epidemiological, human intervention and animal studies is subject to review together with exploration of the potential mechanistic pathways involved. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, one of the most abundant and widely studied catechin found in green tea, will be prominent in the present review. Since there is a substantial inconsistency in the published data with regards to the impact of green tea catechins on vascular function, evaluation and interpretation of the inter- and intra-study variability is included. In conclusion, a positive effect of green tea catechins on vascular function is becoming apparent. Further studies in animal and cell models using physiological concentrations of catechins and their metabolites are warranted in order to gain some insight into the physiology and molecular basis of the observed beneficial effects.
As in man, canine obesity is associated with insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and other chronic diseases. This study was designed to examine the effects of a nutritional supplement (green tea) on insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid concentrations in an obese insulin-resistant dog model. We also determined mRNA expression of two transcription factors, PPARγ and PPARα, and some of their target genes, including GLUT4, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and adiponectin. Obese dogs were divided into two groups: a green tea group (n 6); a control group (n 4). Dogs in the green tea group were given green tea extract (80 mg/kg per d) orally, just before their single daily meal, for 12 weeks. Insulin sensitivity (using a euglycaemic–hyperinsulinaemic clamp) and concentrations of plasma TAG, total cholesterol and NEFA were assessed in each group. Gene expression was measured in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues and in liver and skeletal muscle, by real-time PCR. At 12 weeks in the green tea group, mean insulin sensitivity index was 60 (sem 11) % higher (P < 0·05) and TAG concentration 50 (sem 10) % lower (P < 0·001), than baseline. PPARγ, GLUT4, LPL and adiponectin expression were significantly higher in both adipose tissues, whilst PPARα and LPL expression were significantly higher in skeletal muscle, compared with baseline. These findings show that nutritional doses of green tea extract may improve insulin sensitivity and lipid profile and alter the expression of genes involved in glucose and lipid homeostasis.
We hypothesized that among reproductive-age women consuming large quantities of tea, the production of estradiol would be suppressed. It has been shown that catechins and theaflavines, the major constituents of tea, inhibit aromatase, an enzyme which catalyses the conversion of androgens to oestrogens. Our study included Polish women living in urban (n 61) and rural (n 48) areas. Women collected daily saliva samples for one complete menstrual cycle and filled out dietary questionnaires. Saliva samples were analysed by RIA for concentration of 17β-estradiol (E2). Women with high (above the median) average daily consumption of black tea had reduced levels of salivary E2 in comparison with women who drank less black tea (below the median). This effect was observed within the whole study group, as well as separately within urban (P=0·0006) and rural (P=0·013) groups. High intake of the sum of subclasses of tea catechins and epigallocatechin gallate, assessed using the United States Department of Agriculture database (http://www.nal.usda.gov), was also associated with lower concentrations of E2 within all women (P=0·01 and P=0·0001, respectively) and within the urban group (P=0·0001 and P0·004, respectively). Similar relationships were observed between the sum of subclasses of theaflavines and thearubigines and E2 levels for the whole group (P=0·002) and for urban women (P=0·02). Women with high consumption of tea had lower levels of E2 concentration throughout the entire menstrual cycle. These results may have implications for reducing hormone-related cancer risk by a relatively easy dietary intervention.
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