Green tea is good for you, but why? Scientists in China are trying to answer one aspect of this huge question by pinpointing which components of green tea help lower cholesterol levels, as well as how they do it.
Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries and many studies have demonstrated its numerous health benefits, including its positive action against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Polyphenolic compounds constitute most of green tea’s chemical content and have been linked to the disruption of cholesterol biosynthesis in vivo. However, there are so many different compounds in green tea that it has been difficult to work out which ones are active and exactly how these affect biological function.
Jun Xu and colleagues at Sun Yat-Sen University tested the activity of three enzymes that are essential for cholesterol biosynthesis in vitro in the presence of four different polyphenols found in green tea. They found that two polyphenols, (–)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG) and (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), could inhibit all three enzymes simultaneously, whereas the other two polyphenols had no effect.
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