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Green Tea Review: Supplements, Brewable, Matcha, and Bottled
What is it? Green tea is made by lightly steaming freshly cut leaves of Camellia sinensis. It is higher in catechins (polyphenols) such as EGCG than black tea. It is sold in many forms such as tea bags, loose teas, matcha powders, bottled teas, and as supplements containing extracts with high concentrations of catechins. Green tea also contains caffeine — about half as much per cup as in coffee. (See What It Is).
What does it do? Health benefits are generally associated with catechins in green tea, most notably EGCG. Benefits include a modest reduction in LDL cholesterol, reduced growth of uterine fibroids and associations with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. These benefits are generally associated with consumption of 3 or more cups per day. Studies with green tea supplements typically provide 200 mg to 300 mg per day. The evidence regarding weight loss and memory benefits is mixed and may relate to the caffeine in green tea. (See What It Does).
Best products? Our tests (see What CL Found) found that amounts of EGCG in products vary widely: Supplements provided 46 mg to 500 mg per daily serving. Brewable teas (e.g., bags) provided 27 mg to 79 mg per cup. Matcha powders provided 73 mg to 119 mg per teaspoon (2 grams). Bottled green tea provided 20 mg to 59 mg per cup. (Click on each to see our Top Picks).
Problems with products? Four products failed our tests. One contained only 55% of its listed EGCG and three others contained significantly less caffeine than claimed on their labels. Although green tea leaves can accumulate toxic lead, none of the products were found to provide significant amounts of lead.
Cautions: Green tea can interfere with a range of drugs. Liver toxicity is a concern with high doses of EGCG from green tea supplements. Avoid excessive green tea when pregnant. Excessive tea consumption can make bones and teeth brittle. Don't drink very hot tea due to an association with gastric cancer. (See Concerns and Cautions).
You must be a ConsumerLab.com member to get the full green tea test results along with ConsumerLab's Top Picks and tips on how to choose and use green tea. You'll get results for 30 green tea products including supplements, brewable green teas, matcha powders, and bottled green tea beverages. Twenty-six of these were selected by ConsumerLab.com and four others passed the same testing in CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program. In the review, you'll learn:
ConsumerLab's Top Picks for green tea supplements, brewable teas, matcha powders and bottled green teas based on quality, value, and even taste
Which products passed or failed our tests and why
How much EGCG, total catechins, and caffeine is in each product
Why contamination with lead, cadmium and arsenic is a concern, and what our tests showed
Price comparisons showing how to get a green tea product with EGCG at the lowest cost
Clinical information about the efficacy of green tea and dosage
Cautions and potential side effects for green tea -- including drug interactions, concerns with plastic tea bags, a warning for women who are pregnant or nursing, liver toxicity, and effects on bones and teeth
Finding the Best Green Tea and Avoiding Dangers with CL Founder, Dr. Tod Cooperman
Learn More About Green Tea
ConsumerLab.com Answers -- for Green Tea Review: Supplements, Brewable, Matcha, and Bottled
Question: Are supplements which claim increased absorption or improved bioavailability telling the truth? Is it worth paying more for these? Are there concerns? Get the answer >>
Question: I take warfarin (Coumadin), an anticoagulant drug. Are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking, due to this drug? Get the answer >>
Question: I recently purchased some matcha green tea powder claiming to contain up to "137 times the EGCG" that is in brewed green tea. However, the label does not state an actual amount of EGCG and the company would not provide me with any analysis. Is the label true? Get the answer >>
Question: Can L-theanine help as a sleep aid? Will ConsumerLab.com be testing these supplements? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements help with gum disease or periodontitis? Get the answer >>
Question: I've heard that grapefruit juice can interact with medications because it inhibits an enzyme that breaks down drugs in the body. Do any supplements interact the same way with drugs?
Get the answer >>
Question: Does microwaving green tea affect the amount of EGCG or other catechins in the tea? Get the answer >>
Question: Are there any supplements I should avoid when taking acetaminophen (Tylenol)? Get the answer >>
Question: Can I get the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from supplements from China? Get the answer >>
Question: After developing kidney stones, I was told to avoid tea -- but recently I've heard that green tea might actually be helpful for kidney stones. Is that true? Get the answer >>
Question: How significant are the risks to drinking tea from China from heavy metals? Get the answer >>