Green tea has risen in popularity mainly for the health benefits that it offers.
There’s currently a large demand for green tea supplements, whose main component is green tea extract.
I encourage you to choose real green tea over the extract, but in any case I thought that this was a topic worth discussing.
Green tea extract has numerous uses in many areas such as cosmetics, drinks and foods. However, we’ll be focusing on supplements for this article.
What do green tea supplements contain?
Catechins in green tea are responsible for its healthy quality, and EGCG has been shown to be the most important one.
Most studies that have been done on green tea involve EGCG. It’s helpful to see the product’s label to see how much it contains.
As in natural green tea, caffeine is present, unless that it says that it is decaffeinated.
The green tea extract is obtained by concentrating a green tea solution. This can be done in different ways.
Sometimes water is evaporated by using low pressure so that the extract remains. Another option is to freeze it and separate it from the mixture, or it may be filtered by reverse osmosis.
Note that at this point the process is almost the same as for instant tea powders.
The extract is available in both liquid and solid form. It can be dried into a powder and added to capsules, or made into hard tablets.
Green tea extract has been linked to liver damage. Don’t take it if you have a liver disease.
According to the Nihoncha Instructor Course book, you can receive about 109 mg of catechins in 100 ml (3.3 oz) of your average loose leaf sencha.
The green tea extracts that I’ve seen range from 300 to 500 mg of catechins, and the label suggests one or two doses each day. Thus, you can obtain up to 1000 mg of catechins with the extract, which is roughly equivalent to 900 ml (30 oz) of sencha.
As with any substance, natural or not, if you go past a certain dose you risk damaging your health. So don’t go overboard with your supplement intake.
Also, if your main purpose is to lose weight, read my article on green tea and weight loss.
I find that drinking high-quality green tea is a great experience, much like tasting a good wine. I would drink tea even if it had no health benefits.
If loose leaf tea is not your thing but you’re still interested in its healthy properties, why don’t you try matcha? It’s a powdered green tea and many people use it as a supplement by mixing it into food and drinks.
October 14, 2015
To your point about extracts there is a new study out that indicates that anti-oxidants may aggravate cancer. The benefits to cancer cells is apparently the same that healthy cells get.
October 14, 2015
Thanks for your comment. I actually saw the article about it yesterday.
I think that it’s important that people know that tea is a beverage, not a medicine.It’s not meant to cure any disease.
October 23, 2015
I am trying to figure out why a simple hot green tea make me sick. I would be fine for days , months, even years if I don’t drink green tea. But once I do, I get all these symptoms like bloating and severe stomach pain and diarrhea (the symptoms do not occur right away…just a day or two after drinking green tea). I do wonder if there is such thing as catechins allergy since green and white tea have them (white tea make me sick as well)
I came across how taking green tea extract cause liver damage. So now I wonder I have some kind of kidney or liver issues that can not handle green tea. I can drink black tea just fine. i am from the south-u.s. so I do drink iced tea daily (sweetened with tiny amount of sevia though) so I know black tea do not give me any issues.
I just read how people in japan believe drinking less green tea means their morality rate go up (one of the reasons why people buy green tea pill, especially cancer patients) . Because of my experience with green tea, I now think morality rate has anything to do with green tea, but a lot to do with gene if they are like me and can not drink it (maybe they avoided it for a reason) due to health issues –that they have having problems in begin with and green tea would not have helped anyhow.
I already have high blood pressure (genetic, and I am in my late 30’s but i had trouble with green tea long before that) which would mean could get kidney or maybe liver damage so I wouldn’t be surprised if I can not drink green tea if my body can not handle it.
October 23, 2015
Sorry to hear that.
Have you tried roasted green tea, houjicha? Maybe that one is easier on you, it’s even low in caffeine. Children and the elderly drink it in Japan.