There is lots of green tea information on the Internet, and some of it can be misleading. People need to realize that there are no miracle pills. There are numerous micronutrients that are beneficial to our health, and most diets do not provide them. The catechins in green tea are just one of the micronutrients that we should try to include in our diets every day.
Because there are so many different nutrients and because of different tastes, supplementation is an inexpensive form of insurance. Most people don’t have the time to list the nutritional value of every piece of food that they put in their mouths every day. Even if they did, the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables is only an estimate. The actual amount will vary from one plant to the next.
Some of the green tea information published on the web makes it sound like catechins are the most potent antioxidants in nature. While they are very potent, they are not the most potent, and there are some that are just as potent. Besides, antioxidants address only one of the causes of cellular aging and age-related disease.Well, actually, they address two.
The five main causes of cellular aging are:
- free radical damage
- inefficient methylation
- DNA damage
Any of the first four contribute to DNA damage, which eventually causes the cell to turn cancerous or die. The catechins in green tea are antioxidants, so they address free radical damage. Something in the leaves of the plant has anti-inflammatory activity – presumably, that is also the catechins.
But glycation is just as hazardous to our health as free radical damage.
Glycation occurs when free floating protein molecules bind to glucose molecules. As the two bound molecules float through the bloodstream, they can become stuck to another protein molecule. This is, of course, a very simplified explanation. But when the three molecules become bound together, they are no longer useful to the body.
And as they degrade, they release compounds called AGEs. Advanced Glycation End-products (or AGEs) play a role in Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases. The green tea information that you read will most likely make no mention of the deleterious effects of AGEs, because the extract cannot address them.
The only compound know to inhibit glycation is carnosine. You don’t hear much about glycation, because there isn’t much you can do about it… and carnosine supplements are expensive. Inefficient methylation plays a role in heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, and depression.Of course, this won’t be mentioned in most green tea information pieces, because catechins aren’t helpful for efficient methylation. Those compounds that do contribute to efficient methylation include the B vitamins, Betaine and SAM-e. Historically, healers used a variety of medicinal plants to help their patients. The green tea information that you will normally see includes the conditions for which the plants were normally used.
What you, as the consumer, need to know is that there are complete multi-nutritional supplements that are far more beneficial than any single extract.