Catechins are flavonoid phytochemical compounds that appear predominantly in green tea. Smaller amounts of catechins are also in black tea, grapes, wine, and chocolate. Four polyphenol catechins in green tea include gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
EGCG is the the most potent polyphenol catechin (also called tea flavonoids) and associated with the most significant health benefits.
Catechins are powerful antioxidants. As such, there is significant research being done for their ability to PREVENT cancer and heart disease. Catechins show a wide range of protective effects, including cardioprotective, chemoprotective, and anitmicrobial properties.
While black tea also has flavonoids, green tea (unfermented) has contain a significantly higher amount of catechins. In it’s natural form, regular Green tea has about 27% catechins (typically around 10 mg), oolong tea (partially fermented) contains about 23%, and black tea (fermented) at approximately 4% catechins. GreenTeaHAWAII contains 450 mg of polyphenols – up to 45 times that of “regular” green tea.
Green tea contains important compounds that may be reduced in black tea during the drying and fermentation process that produces black tea. Polyphenols constitute about 15% to 30% of unfermented dried green tea and most of the soluble portion of tea.
The American Journal of Clinical Medicine has numerous studies on the the health benefits associated with Green Tea. Most of these health benefits are attributed to green tea catechins. These studies can be found by searching www.ajcn.org.
Catechins exert significant antioxidant power and are heart healthy agents in combating lipid peroxidation within cell membranes lining arterial walls and reducing formation of atherosclerotic plaque. In particular, the tea catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is currently being studied for its role as a chemoprotective agent. Studies show that EGCG may be responsible for suppressing growth of tumors as well as inhibiting enzymes that are involved in spread of cancer cells.
In fact, EGCG has shown a unique ability to fight cancer at all stages, from inhibiting development of tumors, to eradicating tumor promoters, blocking chemical carcinogens and neutralizing enzymes involved in cell proliferation.
Current research has shown EGCG to be as much as 100 times more potent than vitamin C and 25 time more potent than vitamin E in antioxidant power.
Antimicrobial properties in green tea are also attributed to EGCG, which has been shown to repress the growth of bacteria such as helicobacter pylori, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.