Green tea is grown in China and it has a number of health benefits. Its caffeine content is lower than Indian black (normal) tea, and it is higher in antioxidant content. One prevalent antioxidant in green tea is the polyphenol catechin, which is now marketed as green tea extract nutritional supplement, as an antioxidant and as a fat-burner. A well-designed study in 1999 indicated that catechin was significantly effective in increasing 24hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans, independent of any effects of caffeine (Dulloo, et al 1999). Catechins may also have a small stimulatory effect, by inhibiting noradrenalin degradation. Catechins may also work well as a forth member of the eca stack.
Green tea extract supplements may contain catechin with caffeine and some other polyphenols, or just catechin alone. Catechin is also marketed as an inhibitor of the digestive enzyme lipase, thereby reducing fat digestion and absorption, like the actions of the weight control drug orlistat. There is no basis for this claim in any way, and it is another example of unsound marketing by manufacturers. However, as a thermogenic aid and fat oxidiser, green tea extract is effective and may have a use in bodybuilding, for keeping body fat levels down.
Green tea extract preparations are very expensive to be effective in the dosages required. Green tea extract doesn't get my vote as a top supplement, simply because I think it is better to drink green tea itself. This way you will get the above effects, plus benefits from an array of other antioxidants in the balance of nature. The problem is many people are fussy, and green tea, whilst palatable, is just not as nice as black tea! Bodybuilders have to consume so many supplement drinks a day, and they look forward to a nice refreshing cup of tea. Having to replace this with a less refreshing cup of green tea may not be desirable.
I try to drink a mug of green tea a day, and don't bother with the extract supplements. Have the tea with lemon juice, and leave the tea bag in to stew for 5 minutes to get as much out of it as possible. If you're not keen, try it with sweeteners. Do not add milk, as some amino acids in milk will bind catechins, and negate some of its positive effects.
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