Enhanced fat burning through green and white tea - brown fat cells play key role
Are you taking slimming supplements that contain extracts of green or white tea, but not losing an ounce of fat? It might be because you have few brown fat cells. It's possible to deduce this from a human study published by Japanese researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study also reveals how you can get brown fat cells to grow. You have to use the slimming supplements for longer.
The researchers did an experiment with a functional food, the composition of which is shown here. We suspect it's made up of extracts of green and white tea, but we're not totally sure. A small bottle contains the same amount of catechins as two cups of strong white or green tea.
The researchers performed their experiments on 15 healthy students, of whom they had measured the number of brown fat cells they had [BAT] before starting.
On one occasion the researchers gave the students the product that contained tea catechins, and on the other occasion they gave them a placebo.
When the researchers measured the amount of energy the students burned when resting (in other words, the amount of warmth their body produced), they saw that the catechins boosted the heat production in the students who had relatively large amounts of brown fat cells. The catechins did not have this effect on the other students.
The students with low amounts of brown fat cells then drank two products containing tea catechins every day for five weeks. On another occasion the students drank two placebo drinks for five weeks. At the end of each period the researchers measured the amount of heat the students produced at a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius.
The figure below shows that the tea catechins boosted the heat production; they had probably resulted in an increase in the number of brown fat cells in the students' bodies.
"Our results indicate that oral ingestion of tea catechin with caffeine acutely increases energy expenditure by triggering brown adipose tissue thermogenesis and chronically elevates nonshivering thermogenic capacity during mild cold exposure, suggesting the recruitment of brown adipose tissue, in healthy adults," the researchers summarised.
"These effects on brown adipose tissue are quite similar to those of cold exposure [J Clin Invest. 2013 Aug;123(8):3395-403.] and thermogenic capsinoids. Unlike cold exposure or pharmacologic agents, the tea catechin regimen would be applicable to the sustained interventions aimed at activating brown adipose tissue."
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;105:873-81.
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