What is EGCG? (Epigallocatechin Gallate)
EGCG is gaining popularity lately as an antioxidant – it’s getting lot’s of press, I’m sure you’ve seen these letters on numerous popular tea and energy drinks as well . The fact is, EGCG is not an ingredient or additive but a naturally occuring compound that is found mainly in Green Tea and Wu Long Tea and has some amazing health benefits. Here are a few :
- In study after study in cell cultures, animals, and humans, it has been shown to help prevent, slow, or kill cancer cells – colon, breast, prostate, lung, skin, and others.
- It can lower cholesterol, perhaps helping prevent heart disease. Ditto for high blood pressure.
- It can lower blood sugar, perhaps helping prevent diabetes.
- It can strengthen the immune system, helping to defuse viruses.
- It can reduce inflammation, a harmful process linked to a host of diseases, from Alzheimer’s to ulcers.
EGCG – Compound Makeup
There are three basic categories of compounds that relate to antioxidants and teas; Polyphenols, Flavanoids, and Catechins they can be a bit confusing if you aren’t a chemist or food scientist but we’ll try to make it easy.
The primary compound in which EGCG comes from is called a Polyhenolwhich occurs naturally in tea. Plants produce polyphenols in order to protect themselves from harmful enviornmental elements.
Flavanoids are a type of polyphenol. Chocolate, Blueberries and Kale also contain flavanoids. Actually there are about 5000 different flavanoids however we’ll limit our discussion to flavanoids found in tea.
The next level is Catechins (pronounced CAT-uh-kins) which are a type of flavanoid found in high levels in green tea.
EGCG is a type of Catechin that is a powerful antioxidant and makes up about 30% to 42% of the content of green tea (black tea has 3 to 10 percent, with oolong in between.) Oolong ( wu long ) may be lower in EGCG but makes up for it by containing another natural antioxidant just as powerful
Catechins like EGCG are much more powerful than vitamins like A, C and E in defending your body against “free radicals”, which do all kinds of damage to the body; speeding up the aging process, causing cancer, triggering Alzhiemers disease and other chronic diseases.
So knowing that EGCG is a powerful antioxidant what is the best way to gain its powerful health benefits?
The best source is fresh loose leaf Green tea. Forget the pre – packaged so called EGCG laden drinks promoted everywhere ; potency is lost after it is heavily processed and packaged…. experts say the most powerful benefits come from the loose leaf tea infusion as it is brewed.