In a trial at the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, researchers set out to determine if green tea consumption, which has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk, had any impact on cholesterol levels. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial set in six hospitals in China, a total of 240 men and women were randomly given a daily capsule of either theaflavin-enriched green tea extract (375 mg) or placebo. The subjects were 18 years or older on a low-fat diet with mild to moderate high cholesterol. At the outset and after 12 weeks, researchers measured cholesterol levels.
The researchers found that green tea extract did significantly impact cholesterol. Those taking green tea extract decreased total cholesterol by 11.3% and bad cholesterol (LDL) by 16.4%, while simultaneously increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL) by 2.3%. Since there were no such changes in the placebo group, researchers concluded that theaflavin-enriched green tea extract was an effective and well-tolerated adjunct to a low-saturated-fat diet to reduce cholesterol in adults with high cholesterol.
Sources: Arch Intern Med. 2003 Jun 23;163(12):1448-53