High blood levels of glucose and insulin predispose people to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and are associated with accelerated aging. For many people, sugar is the primary culprit in the accumulation of body fat. One animal study showed a significant reduction in body fat in response to green tea catechin supplementation.
Diabetes, or “sugar diabetes,” as it is most commonly referred to, is broken down into two main classes.
Type One: Insulin Dependent Diabetes (IDDM)
Type Two: Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes (NIDDM)
Other forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes (during pregnancy), water diabetes, and several other rare types of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease characterized by the insufficient secretion or improper functioning of insulin. Insulin regulates the amount of blood sugar in our tissue. Improper absorption of blood sugar leads to excess concentrations that must be released through urine. If this continues for long periods of time, it can lead to a number of more serious illnesses.
Green Tea Lowers the Blood Sugar Level
Green tea polyphenols and polysaccharides are effective in lowering blood sugar. Another study showed that green tea extract reduced the normal elevation of glucose and insulin when 50 grams of starch were ingested. The polyphenol group of green tea catechins has been shown to lower blood sugars, as well as the polysaccharides in green tea.
In fact, researchers have found that EGCG (also known as epigallocatechin gallete, one of the catechin polyphenols) influences the primary way that glucose is absorbed. EGCG may also help diabetics by mimicking the actions of insulin and inhibiting the liver’s production of glucose, thus lowering blood sugar. The liver produces some glucose, but the most common sugar spikes occur from the food we eat. Recent studies suggest that green tea catechins may reduce the amount of glucose that passes through the intestine and into the bloodstream. This will benefit diabetics by preventing blood-sugar spikes when tea is taken with meals.
How it works- Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
When starch is consumed, it requires the enzyme amylase to break it down into simple sugars that can be absorbed in the blood stream. Green tea polyphenols inhibit amylase. One study showed that just one cup of green tea inhibited amylase activity by 87%. Another study showed that green tea extract reduced the normal elevation of glucose and insulin when 50 grams of starch were ingested.
How They Are Related: Tea and Diabetes
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, common tea can be an effective weapon in the fight against diabetes because it boosts insulin activity in the body by more than 15-fold. Both black and green teas were shown to increase insulin activity.
The sugars and carbohydrates in our food are digested mainly in the duodenum, where they are converted to glucose and then absorbed into the blood. The agent that regulates the intake of blood sugar into the tissues is insulin, a chemical secreted from Langerhans, which are islets on the pancreas. Diabetes is a disease characterized by the insufficient secretion or improper functioning of insulin, which hinders the proper absorption of glucose into the tissues and leads to a high concentration of blood sugar that must eventually be excreted into the urine. If this high concentration of blood sugar should continue for a long period, it will affect the vascular system and cause a number of quite serious diseases, including atherosclerosis and retinal hemorrhages.
It has been shown that the polysaccharides in green tea possess the same ability to regulate blood sugar as insulin. Although these results come from animal tests, the evidence that green tea catechin and polysaccharides can lower blood sugar in mice may also, in light of Dr. Minowada’s old report, apply to humans.
Research has provided hard-core evidence of the health benefits of green tea. Green tea is loaded with catechin polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate, which is commonly referred to as EGCG. In addition to being a wonderful anti-oxidant, it also destroys malignant cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue untouched. Black tea, oolong tea, and green tea have the same origin- the camellia sinenisi plant, but green tea earns its reputation because the EGCG in it remains unoxidized and unfermented. In the other two kinds of tea, EGCG is changed into different compounds and the medicinal effect is diluted.
Green tea also helps to burn those extra calories, and when combined with caffeine, it augments the calorie burning. It increases the energy that is expended and helps to oxidize fats.
Diabetes, which is even more common than high blood pressure, can actually be kept under control by consuming green tea. Starch in any form is converted into sugar, and this is done with the help of an enzyme called amylase. The polyphenols present in green tea extract reduce the amount of amylase produced; thus, the levels of sugar in the blood also decrease.
- Used primarily for its free radical fighting capabilities
- EGCG protects against digestive and respiratory infections
- Helps block the cancer-promoting actions of carcinogens, ultraviolet light, and metastasis
- High total and LDL-cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure (suppresses angiotensin 1 converting enzyme)
- Reduces platelet aggregation
- Inhibiting pathogenic bacteria that causes food poisoning
- Blocks the attachment of the bacteria associated with dental caries of the teeth.
Click here to learn more about Pacific College’s Integrative Health programs.