Extracts from green tea may stop the build-up of fatty deposits in the liver

February 04, 2008

Green tea decreases the absorption of fat from a meal and may decrease the build up of fat in our liver by regulating it. Fatty liver is the build up of excess fat in liver cells. It is normal for your liver to contain some fat but if fat makes up more than 10% of your liver then you have a fatty liver; a condition that is usually symptomless but increases the risk of suffering with liver inflammation (hepatitis). In fatty liver the liver can become scarred and hardened over time; a condition called cirrhosis and this is serious and often leads to liver failure.
Fatty liver is reportedly on the rise in the US, and the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has increased in line with the increase in the rate of obesity, state the researchers.
Richard Bruno and colleagues from the University of Connecticut used genetically-obese mice (ob/ob) and using lean mice as a comparison, fed them a diet containing zero, one, or two per cent green tea extract (GTE) for six weeks.
At the end of the study, the researchers report that the obese mice fed the GTE-supplemented diets had 23 to 25 per cent less weight than the obese mice fed the diet without Green Tea Extract. Moreover, the lean mice fed the GTE-supplemented diets had 11 to 20 % less body weight than their lean counterpart on the non-supplemented diet.
When their livers were studied under a microscope there was a significant reduction in the amount of fat that had accumulated in the liver of the obese mice fed the Green Tea Extract than in the non-supplemented group. The stronger the concentration of Green Tea Extract the lower the accumulation of fat in the liver.

Liver enzyme levels in a blood test were reduced in the Green Tea Extract groups compared to non-supplemented obese animals. These enzymes known as ALT and AST are used as markers of liver damage. GTE-supplementation decreased the level of ALT by 30 to 41% and decreased AST by 22 to 33 %.
No significant differences were observed in food intake between the animal groups.
“About 40 million Americans are afflicted with this silent and tragic disease. Weight loss is the primary recommendation for those with fatty liver disease. Since this is difficult for most people, we hope that our continued studies on green tea will lead to the understanding of its protective properties and to what extent green tea protects humans from this disease," said Bruno. The study is published in the February 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Drinking three or more cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 35%

Drinking coffee reduced the risk in some women considerably and the benefits of coffee consumption appeared to be related to the caffeine content of the beverage, with no benefits observed from decaffeinated coffee, stated the researchers in the journal Cancer.
The scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health also state that the benefits were more pronounced for postmenopausal women and their younger counterparts if they had never used oral contraceptives.
The researchers used data from the 121,701 registered nurses participating in the Nurses' Health Study. The women completed questionnaires at the start of the study (1976) when they were aged between 30 and 35, and completed follow-up questionnaires at bi-annual intervals thereafter.
A 'modest' 20 % risk reduction in ovarian cancer was reported among all the women for caffeine intake greater than 500 milligrams per day, compared to women with a daily intake of less than 136 milligrams; but the results were skewed downwards by women who had used birth control pills.
When the analysis was limited to women who had never used oral contraceptives, the highest daily intake of caffeine was associated with a 35 % risk reduction, compared to women with the lowest daily intakes.
And it gets better; the highest daily intake of caffeine was linked to a 43 % reduction in the risk of the cancer among postmenopausal women, stated the researchers.
No associations were reported for current or past smoking habits, or alcohol consumption and ovarian cancer risk, added the researchers. The study is published online ahead of print in the January 22nd, 2008 issue of the journal Cancer. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.; Coffee and coffee polyphenols have been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, of developing Her2/Neu breast cancer, of developing gallstones, of developing liver cancer, and of developing kidney cancer. Interestingly, some of the beneficial coffee polyphenols are lost during the decaffeination process and this may be part of the reason why decaf did not offer protection.