EGCG – For Heart, Brain, AntiCancer
The potential effects of EGCG for preventing heart disease, hypertension and stroke have also come under scrutiny. In a review published in 2007 in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” Swen Wolfram, Ph.D., outlined the many cardiovascular benefits associated with green tea. In particular, he noted positive results in large human studies in which participants consumed 5 to 6 cups a day containing 200 to 300 milligrams of EGCG.
EGCG appears to have powerful antioxidant effects against free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells and cause cancer as a result. According to a paper published in “Biochemical Pharmacology” in 2011, EGCG has proven to inhibit tumor growth in a variety of test-tube studies involving cancer of the stomach, lungs, liver, breast and colon. In addition, it promotes the death of cancer cells. The authors concluded that EGCG presents a promising cancer treatment, either alone or with other therapies.
In an animal study published in a 2012 issue of “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research,” researchers looked at the potential of EGCG to enhance brain function. Specifically, they studied the effects of the polyphenol on the generation of neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are formed and is most affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The research team found that the EGCG in green tea promotes neurogenesis — neuron creation — in the hippocampus of adult mice, thus improving cognitive function.
Obtaining EGCG from green tea also promotes weight loss by promoting diet-induced thermogenesis and fat oxidation. A study published in the December 1999 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” tested 24-hour energy expenditure in humans. One group of participants received 90 milligrams of EGCG and 50 milligrams of caffeine from green tea extract, the second got the caffeine dose only and the third received a placebo. These were taken with three meals. Only the EGCG and caffeine group experienced significant energy expenditure, leading the researchers to conclude that the polyphenol has greater potential than the caffeine in green tea for promoting weight loss.