Catechins and epicatechin are powerful bioactive plant compounds or phytochemicals found in a variety of plant-based foods and beverages, most notably green tea. Research indicates that catechins and epicatechins are associated with an abundant array of health benefits, including antioxidant effects, lipid oxidation, and the promotion of heart health. We will talk more about the benefits of catechins, epicatechins, and what current research shows on human health.
What are catechins and epicatechins?
Catechins and epicatechins are a well-studied group of bioactive plant compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic compounds that are mainly found in plants. They display a large family of molecules bearing one or more phenolic rings. A growing body of research indicates that polyphenols may play a vital role in health by regulating metabolism, weight, chronic disease, and cell reproduction. More than 8,000 polyphenols have been identified, yet research is still needed to determine their short- and long-term health effects. Studies show that polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can have preventive and/or therapeutic effects on cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and obesity. [R].
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The main sources of epicatechin and catechins are found in green tea, cocoa, dark chocolate and red wine. Catechins exert incredibly powerful antioxidant effects, scavenging free radicals that have been found to be associated with age-related diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic disorder, and cancer.
Benefits of catechins and epicatechin
1. May support weight loss
Obesity affects more than 800 million people with an estimated 40% of the US population. Research indicates that catechins may aid in the process of fat oxidation and insulin resistance, leading to greater weight loss.
Green tea, which contains four types of epicatechin: epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3 gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been found to help support weight loss results. [R].
EGCG has a direct effect on increasing lipid oxidation, The body’s ability to use body fat for energy It enhances your ability to burn more calories while resting by boosting thermogenesis. In other words, EGCG increases your metabolic rate. Research indicates that by combining green tea extract with moderate-intensity training, fat oxidation will increase from 17 to 20%, in addition to the increase in fat oxidation from exercise alone. Therefore, green tea extract can help you lose weight by using body fat for energy and helping you burn more calories.
The exact mechanism of action of EGCG is not directly known. However, EGCG is believed to have a direct effect on lipolysis in stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, thus increasing lipid oxidation.
A systematic review, which analyzed 14 randomized controlled trials to determine the effects of green tea extract on weight loss, concluded that study participants lost 0.5-7.7 pounds more, on average, than control groups, when taking green tea extract supplements for 12 weeks. [R]. Therefore, by increasing the rate of fat oxidation, you burn more body fat as energy.
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Research also indicates that pairing caffeine with the catechins found in green tea promotes increased fat oxidation and energy expenditure, via the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and peripheral tissues increasing thermogenesis to burn more calories throughout the day.
2. Promotes heart health
Antioxidants have been shown to promote better heart health, by reducing inflammation. Epidemiological evidence indicates that green tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease [R].
Catechins in green tea have the ability to prevent atherosclerosis, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, cardiomegaly, and congestive heart failure by reducing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, reducing platelet aggregation, and stopping platelet aggregation. proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. [R].
Consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate or cocoa has also been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Yes, I’m talking about chocolate. Studies have shown that chocolate may provide benefits that support heart health through several different mechanisms including:
- Decreased LDL oxidation
- Improve HDL concentration
- Decreased platelet aggregation
- Reducing oxidative stress (an imbalance in the ratio of antioxidants to free radicals
- Increased levels of prostacyclin (a signaling molecule involved in preventing blood clot formation)
- Decreased levels of leukotriene (a signaling molecule involved in inflammation and allergic reactions)
- Increase nitric oxide production
- Improve endothelial function
- Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased
- Improve insulin sensitivity, decrease insulin resistance
- Decreased hemolysis caused by free radicals (the breakdown or breakdown of red blood cells)
- Improvement of brachial artery aneurysm
- lower levels of bad cholesterol [R]
Before eating chocolate bars, remember everything in moderation. A piece of chocolate a day is fine, but we are by no means urging you to eat chocolate bars every day to improve heart health.
The antioxidant capacity of chocolate by type
Antioxidant capacity (mmol trolox equivalents) per 100g
Antioxidant capacity (mmol trolox equivalents) per 100 calories
Dark chocolate (semi-sweet)
A triple-blind, randomized controlled trial administering a 350 mg dose of resveratrol extract found in red wine to 75 patients for six months, grape extract (without resveratrol), or placebo, found that resveratrol LDL groups were reduced by 4.5% and oxidized. LDL decreased by 20% compared to participants who took either non-enriched grape extract or a placebo [R].
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3. It may reduce the risk of cancer
Epicatechins and catechins have also been shown to benefit some types of cancer. The flavonoids found in red wine, for example red wine, have been found to inhibit the expression and activity of certain cytochrome P450 enzymes and may help prevent cancer by reducing the activation of procarcinogen. [R]. Catechins have also been found to induce cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis (programmed cell death) in a number of cancer cell lines. [R]. This ultimately means that the flavonoids in red wine may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells that are the basis for the development of cancer.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most abundant and active tea catechin, has been shown in many studies to have anti-cancer and anti-cancer cell growth effects. [R].
Epicatechins and Catechins: The Takeaway
It is clear that catechins and epicatechins have a profound effect and can greatly benefit human health. Adding some green tea, a glass of wine, and a small bite of chocolate to your nighttime routine can be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle.
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