What's the best way to get green tea? Is it from supplements, or by drinking green tea which you brew or buy in a bottle? ConsumerLab.com tested the strength and purity of more than 20 green tea products to help you decide and know what's really in these products.
Green tea supplements may lower the risk of certain types of cancer, shrink uterine fibroids, and aid in weight control, and drinking green tea has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as a lower risk of some cancers. The apparent active compounds in green tea are EGCG and other catechins. However, amounts of these compounds in green tea supplements, brewable teas, and bottled drinks can vary enormously. Our tests revealed that green tea supplements provided 22 mg to over 300 mg of EGCG in a suggested daily serving, depending on the brand. Bottled green teas contained EGCG levels from just 4 mg to 47 mg per cup. Our tests of brewable green tea (from tea bags, loose tea, or a K-Cup) found levels ranging from 25 to 86 mg of EGCG per serving. Three products failed to contain their listed amounts of EGCG or catechins.
ConsumerLab.com found the cost to obtain 200 mg of EGCG from green tea products ranged from as little as $0.10 to more than $70. Just as striking was that caffeine levels ranged from virtually none in some products to more than 130 mg in a single capsule of a supplement which didn't even mention caffeine on its label. That's 40 mg more caffeine that in a regular cup of coffee!
Our tests of brewable teas also revealed lead contamination in the tea leaves of several products -- although, fortunately, most of this lead stays in the leaves rather than going into the tea.
It is critical that you choose and use green tea products carefully.
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- How much EGCG, caffeine, and lead is in each product
- Which green tea supplements passed and which failed quality testing and review
- Price comparisons showing how to get a green tea product with EGCG at the lowest cost
- The amount of EGCG in doses of green tea shown to be effective in preliminary studies for weight control and cancer prevention
- The number of cups of green tea associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers
- Concerns, cautions, and potential side effects for green tea -- including drug interactions, a warning for women who are pregnant or nursing, and a caution for drinking excessive tea