Green tea reduces inflammatory markers in mouse model

Green tea may reduce obesity and inflammatory biomarkers associated with poor health and disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus looked at 48 mice who were fed a high-fat diet with either or a combination of tocotrienols and green tea polyphenols for 14 weeks. Both tocotrienols and green tea polyphenols increased soleus muscle weight, the major site for glucose uptake, which plays a role in initiating insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, according to the study, which was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The researchers concluded these compounds, taken separately or together, have the potential to improve skeletal muscle metabolism in obese mice by improving glucose homeostasis, reducing lipid peroxidation, and increasing rate limiting enzymes of oxidative phosphorylation.

The benefits seen in the study, researchers say, appear to stem from improved gut health, including more beneficial microbes in the intestines of the mice and less permeability in the intestinal wall, or leaky gut.

"This study provides evidence that green tea encourages the growth of good gut bacteria, and that leads to a series of benefits that significantly lower the risk of obesity," said Richard Bruno, PhD, the study's lead author and a professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, in a statement released by the university.

Negative changes in the gut microbiome have been previously linked to obesity, and green tea has been shown to promote healthy bacteria. Researchers wanted to explore whether there was an argument for green tea preventing obesity, inflammation, and other factors connected to poor metabolic health, according said Bruno.

"The results of studies looking at obesity management so far have been a real mixed bag,” said Bruno. “Some seem to support green tea for weight loss, but a lot of other research has shown no effect, likely due to the complexity of the diet relative to a number of lifestyle factors. Our goal is to figure out how it prevents weight gain. This will lead to better health recommendations."