Friday, March 02, 2007

Green tea boosts endurance

Earlier this week, I wrote that green tea is now the beverage of choice in the New York Yankees' clubhouse.

The article to which I linked referenced a study about the performance-enhancing effects—make that the legal performance-enhance effects—of green tea. A detailed summary of the findings is available in the online version of the journal, the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

Important take-aways from the summary include:

  • The study found that over 10 weeks, endurance exercise performance was boosted up to 24% with 0.5% green tea extract (GTE) supplementation, and 8% with 0.2% by-weight addition to food.
  • These results came from the equivalent of about 4 cups of tea a day. In other words, if you drank 4 cups of brewed green tea each day—which is not excessive by any means—you would be getting the same amount of green tea compounds that the subjects in the study ingested.
  • Taking epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) along did not have the same endurance-boosting effects as green tea extract. In other words, EGCG alone does not explain the benefits detected.

And here's more food for thought: Although the study found that green tea extract had an endurance-boosting effect, extracts do not contain all of the natural compounds found in green tea. So, by taking an extract instead of brewed green tea, you're probably missing out on other benefits.

And pills cannot give you an important part of the green tea experience—the calming, relaxing effect that comes from the act of brewing, and from kicking up your feet and enjoying the earthy flavor and soothing aroma of great green tea.

Accept no substitute!

—Mellow Monk

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