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Research Brief: Green Tea Enhances Aerobic Capacity

Green tea
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is one of the most popular extracts found in weight loss and energy formulas, owing to its ability to increase thermogenesis and fat oxidation. A large body of work including animal and human studies has shown additional positive effects of green tea on a wide range of biological effects that improve health.

Despite the large body work on the clinical effects of green tea, very little work has addressed the impact on exercise performance. Researchers, therefore, decided to test the effects of green tea on maximal oxygen consumption in healthy men and women. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) is the maximum capacity of an individual to transport and utilize oxygen during intense incremental exercise; it is the hallmark of great athletes in endurance sports.

Subjects in the study performed two tests on a cycle ergometer to determine VO2max — one after ingesting 135 mg of EGCG (the active component of green tea) and one after placebo ingestion. Compared with placebo, short-term EGCG supplementation significantly increased VO2max by more than 4%. The findings are the first to indicate green tea may be a useful supplement for endurance athletes to enhance aerobic capacity.

Reference: Richards JC, Lonac MC, Johnson TK, Schweder MM, Bell C. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate Increases Maximal Oxygen Uptake in Adult Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Nov 27