Skip to main content

Purified black tea theaflavins and theaflavins/catechin supplements did not affect serum lipids in healthy individuals with mildly to moderately elevated cholesterol concentrations

Abstract

Background

Ingestion of tea flavonoids found in both green and black tea is linked to cardiovascular health benefits such as lowering serum lipids. Evidence for a cholesterol-lowering benefit of green or black tea consumption from human intervention studies is, however, conflicting and active components responsible for the effect have not yet been clearly identified.

Aim of the study

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design study the effects of ingesting a purified black tea theaflavins (TFs) powder alone or in combination with catechin (TFs/catechins) on lowering serum total (TC) and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-c) were assessed.

Methods

In total, 102 mildly to moderately hypercholesterolemic (TC and LDL-c: 5.70 ± 0.74 and 3.97 ± 0.61 mmol/L, respectively) subjects (67 men and 35 women) were randomly assigned to consume once daily one capsule of one of the 3 treatments: TFs (providing 77.5 mg), TFs/catechins (providing 75.0 mg TFs plus 150.0 mg catechins and 195.0 mg of other polyphenols), or placebo (cellulose).

Results

Serum TC and LDL-c concentrations did not differ significantly among the 3 treatments as assessed at 4, 8, and 11 weeks using analysis of covariance (p = 0.1187 and p = 0.1063, respectively). Although changes over time from baseline to week 11 were significant for TC and LDL-c (p = 0.0311 and p = 0.0269, respectively), this decrease over time was seen in the TFs and placebo groups.

Conclusion

In this human intervention study, no statistically significant LDL-c lowering effect was seen with either TFs alone or the TFs/catechins combination as compared to placebo. Based on these findings it cannot be concluded that tea flavonoids such as theaflavins and catechins are responsible for a putative cholesterol-lowering effect of black tea, at least not with the daily dose applied in the present study.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. 1.

    Bingham SA, Vorster H, Jerling JC, Magee E, Mulligan A, Runswick SA, Cummings JH (1997) Effect of black tea drinking on blood lipids, blood pressure and aspects of bowel habit. Br J Nutr 78:41–55

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Davies MJ, Judd JT, Baer DJ, Clevidence BA, Paul DR, Edwards AJ, Wiseman SA, Muesing RA, Chen SC (2003) Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 133:3298S–3302S

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Doornbos AM, Meynen EM, Duchateau GS, van der Knaap HC, Trautwein EA (2006) Intake occasion affects the serum cholesterol lowering of a plant sterol-enriched single-dose yoghurt drink in mildly hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 60:325–333

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Du S, Lu B, Zhai F, Popkin BM (2002) A new stage of the nutrition transition in China. Public Health Nutr 5:169–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Erba D, Riso P, Bordoni A, Foti P, Biagi PL, Testolin G (2005) Effectiveness of moderate green tea consumption on antioxidative status and plasma lipid profile in humans. J Nutr Biochem 16:144–149

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Fujita H, Yamagami T (2008) Antihypercholesterolemic effect of Chinese black tea extract in human subjects with borderline hypercholesterolemia. Nutr Res 28:450–456

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Fukino Y, Ikeda A, Maruyama K, Aoki N, Okubo T, Iso H (2008) Randomised controlled trial for an effect of green tea-extract power supplementation on glucose abnormalities. Eur J Clin Nutr 62:953–960. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602806 published online 6 June 2007

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Guo X, Popkin BM, Zhai F (1999) Patterns of change in food consumption and dietary fat intake in Chinese adults, 1989–1993. Food Nutr Bull 20:344–353

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Hodgson JM (2008) Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 17:288–290

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Hsu TF, Kusumoto A, Abe K, Hosoda K, Kiso Y, Wang MF, Yamamoto S (2006) Polyphenol-enriched oolong tea increases fecal lipid excretion. Eur J Clin Nutr 60:1330–1336

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Huxley JM, Neil HA (2003) The relation between dietary flavonol intake and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Clin Nutr 57:904–908

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Ikeda I, Imasato Y, Sasaki E, Nakayama M, Nagao H, Takeo T, Yayabe F, Sugano M (1992) Tea catechins decrease micellar solubility and intestinal absorption of cholesterol in rats. Biochim Biophys Acta 1127:141–146

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Ikeda I, Kobayashi M, Hamada T, Tsuda K, Goto H, Imaizumi K, Nozawa A, Sugimoto A, Kakuda T (2003) Heat-epimerized tea catechins rich in gallocatechin gallate and catechin gallate are more effective to inhibit cholesterol absorption than tea catechins rich in epigallocatechin gallate and epicatechin gallate. J Agric Food Chem 51:7303–7307

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Ishikawa T, Suzukawa M, Ito T, Yoshida H, Ayaori M, Nishiwaki M, Yonemura A, Hara Y, Nakamura H (1997) Effect of tea flavonoid supplementation on the susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein to oxidative modification. Am J Clin Nutr 66:261–266

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Koo SI, Noh SK (2007) Green tea as inhibitor of the intestinal absorption of lipids: Potential mechanism for its lipid-lowering effect. J Nutr Biochem 18:179–183

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Kris-Etherton PM, Dietschy J (1997) Design criteria for studies examining individual fatty acid effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors: human and animal studies. Am J Clin Nutr 65(Suppl):1590S–1596S

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Maron DJ, Lu GP, Cai NS, Wu ZG, Li YH, Chen H, Zhu JQ, Jin XJ, Wouters BC, Zhao J (2003) Cholesterol-lowering effect of a theaflavin-enriched green tea extract: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 163:1448–1453

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    McAnlis GT, McEnery J, Pearce J, Young IS (1998) Black tea consumption does not protect low density lipoprotein from oxidative modification. Eur J Clin Nutr 52:202–206

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Mulder TPJ, van Platerink CJ, Schuyl PJW, van Amelsvoort JMM (2001) Analysis of theaflavins in biological fluids using liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr 760:271–279

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Peters U, Poole C, Arab L (2001) Does tea affect cardiovascular disease? A meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol 154:495–503

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Princen HM, van Duyvenvoorde W, Buytenhek R, Blonk C, Tijburg LB, Langius JA, Meinders AE, Pijl H (1998) No effect of consumption of green and black tea on plasma lipid and antioxidant levels and on LDL oxidation in smokers. Atheroscler Thromb Vasc Biol 18:833–841

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Raederstorff DG, Schlachter MF, Elste V, Weber P (2003) Effect of EGCG on lipid absorption and plasma lipid levels in rats. J Nutr Biochem 14:326–332

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Stangl V, Lorenz M, Stangl K (2006) The role of tea and tea flavonoids in cardiovascular health. Mol Nutr Food Res 50:218–228

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    van het Hof K, de Boer HSM, Wiseman SA, Lien N, Weststrate JA, Tijburg LBM (1997) Consumption of green or black tea does not increase resistance of low-density-lipoprotein to oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 66:1123–1132

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Vermeer M, Mulder T, Molhuizen H (2008) Theaflavins from black tea, especially theaflavin-3-gallate, reduce the incorporation of cholesterol into mixed micelles. J Agric Food Chem 56:12031–12036

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Balentine DA, Wiseman SA, Bouwens LC (1997) The chemistry of tea flavonoids. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 37:693–704

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Warden BA, Smith LS, Beecher GR, Balentine DA, Clevidence BA (2001) Catechins are bioavailable in men and women drinking black tea throughout the day. J Nutr 131:1731–1737

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Trautwein EA, Duchateau GS, Lin YG, Mel’nikov SM, Molhuizen HOF, Ntanios FY (2003) Proposed mechanisms of cholesterol-lowering action of plant sterols. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 105:171–185

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors like to thank Dr. Yi-Cai Fu for his help in the identification of the clinical study site, Dr. Wei-Li Li for his role as company physician, Yong-Shi Bu for helping with capsule preparation, and Mario Vermeer for critical comments on the manuscript.

Conflict of interest statement

All authors are employed by Unilever Foods, The Netherlands or China.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elke A. Trautwein.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Trautwein, E.A., Du, Y., Meynen, E. et al. Purified black tea theaflavins and theaflavins/catechin supplements did not affect serum lipids in healthy individuals with mildly to moderately elevated cholesterol concentrations. Eur J Nutr 49, 27–35 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-009-0045-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Black tea
  • Theaflavins
  • Catechin
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Healthy individual