Over the holidays, I’ve been really getting back into my training. I know a lot of people often use this time as a break from training, but I actually do the opposite for a few reasons – I have more time; I’m sleeping better; and I’m eating more treats so it’s extra important to stay on top of the calorie burning!

On top of this, I’m spending a lot of dough on various natural and herbal supplements to balance my hormones, thyroid health and improving my iron and iodine levels. It’s all working (slow but steady) and it makes it even more important that I keep up my quality nutrition and regular training. Supplements are fantastic, but only if you have that baseline sorted out first.

Something I have been wanting to start taking again is Green Tea Extract or GTE. My fat loss is happening but it’s still pretty slow because of my hormones all being out of whack still (sky high estrogen anyone?!) and I’ve had good results using green tea in the past. So it seemed like pretty sweet timing when I came across Athelite Nutrition and they offered to send me some of their GTE to use.

Let’s get into some of the nitty gritty about green tea and GTE, because there is a lot of hype out there and you know I only like supplementation that actually is proven to work. (For this reason, I’ve referenced information from my buddies at Examine.com because they provide unbiased reviews and collation of clinical research studies. They have a great supplement eBook too). 


What is GTE? 

GTE or Green Tea Extract or Camellia sinensis, is quite literally just green tea leaves that has been dried and encapsulated. When you steep tea leaves in hot water, the benefits of the water-soluble polyphenols (often referred to as catechins) extracted from the leaves are released.

Sometimes a GTE supplement will add in other things for various reasons, but in the case of the Athelite Nutrition GTE I’m using, it’s just a dried green tea leaf concentrate – equivalent to 20g of green tea leaves. I like my supplements natural, so this is perfect.


What does Green Tea Extract do for you?

GTE has been shown to benefit almost every organ system in the body. Winning!

“It is cardioprotective, neuroprotective, anti-obesity, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-artherogenic, liver protective and beneficial for blood vessel health. These beneficial effects are seen in doses present both in green tea itself (as a drink) as well as from a supplemental form.” (via Examine)

One most popular benefits that GTE has been shown to do is assisting with fat burning. The benefits of green tea catechins on lipid oxidation and related fat-burning pathways are entirely dependant on how much you take though.

“Significant effects in humans are noted only at high doses, such as 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day … Fat burning effects are highly synergistic, almost dependent, on not consuming caffeine habitually.”

Which means that if you are already drinking lots of caffeine every single day, then you will get the best results by dropping the coffee and using the GTE supplement instead. This is something I’m starting as I’ve been meaning to reduce my coffee intake anyway (it crept up again after our trip to Barcelona!).

Probably the next more publicised benefit of GTE is cancer prevention. Again, the benefits here are quite dose-dependent and you are better off to take a GTE supplement that contains all the catechins rather than an isolated EGCG.  According to Examine.com, the dosage here is best around a minimum of 200mg but more frequent, say 3+ times a day.

(There are many more benefits that you can check out on the Human Effect Matrix table on Examine.com too).


Why not just drink a cup of green tea?

When you take a GTE supplement, you will notice on the bottle it will state the equivalent EGCG or Epigallocatechin-3-0-Gallate (let’s just pretend we know how to pronounce that). When you drink a cup of green tea, the EGCG is going to vary depending on the tea species, how long you steep the tea for and how old the tea leaves are because they will oxidise in the air causing the nutrient value to decline. You can roughly assume about 50mg of EGCG-equivalent per one cup of green tea though.

Whilst I love a nice cup of green tea, to get the required amount of EGCG (400-500mg per day) is going to involved drinking 8-10 cups of it a day and honestly that’s a lot of green tea to drink! Plus you are very unlikely to manage this every single day.


How do I get the most out of  GTE supplement?

First up, make sure you look for a high quality GTE supplement without additives. There are a few things you can do that will further increase the bioavailability (how well your body absorbs something) of Green Tea Extract in your body:

  • Quercetin increases the bioavailability of GTE very well. Whilst it’s not a supplement you can take, you can easily find it fruits and veggies. Apples are a great source of Quercetin, so I take my GTE at the same time as my Juice Plus fruit capsules to increase the absorption.
  • You should take the GTE with a meal, so that’s another reason to make sure you are eating lots of fruit and veggies to help the absorption.
  • Fish oil also helps the bioavailability so if you take that, it’s worth taking at the same time.
  • Keep drinking your green tea too, but reduce your overall caffeine intake (i.e. from coffee) to get the best effect from it.

If you want to give GTE a try, then of course check with your doctor or health professional first.

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