The health benefits of green tea are becoming more widely accepted among medical experts, and as a result the marketplace is booming with green tea products. This antioxidant-rich nutrient has shown promise for its positive effects on heart disease, cancer, weight loss, Alzheimer's disease, and for boosting the immune system. Now research from Japan suggests that supplements of EGCg, a potent ingredient in green tea, may offset physical and mental fatigue that can be attributed to a workaholic lifestyle.
In a laboratory study it was found that rats treated with EGCg could swim for longer periods than rats treated with saline solution. Levels of thiobarbituricacid reactive substance (TBARS), which can cause oxidative damage, were higher in the livers of fatigued animals as compared to the livers of control animals. However, treatment with EGCg for five days significantly reduced these levels in the livers of fatigued animals.
Study results suggest that EGCg is effective for easing fatigue and appears to have a positive effect on the damaged livers of fatigued animals. Researchers concluded, "We demonstrated that oral administration of EGCG (50 or 100 mg/kg intraperitoneally [not for 25 mg/kg]) improved performance in an animal model of combined fatigue...”
Study author Masaaki Tanaka from Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine stated, "Acute fatigue is a normal phenomenon that disappears after a period of rest. In contrast, the effects of accumulated fatigue are sometimes irreversible, and the compensation mechanisms that are useful in reducing acute fatigue are no longer effective." He further stated, "To avoid fatigue, it is important to develop effective strategies for attenuating fatigue."
Natural supplements containing green tea extract might be an ideal solution if the results of this study can be replicated in people. Green tea and its extracts already have a positive reputation, but this is one more reason to consider daily consumption of the tea or a natural green tea supplement.
Further study is needed, however, before EGCg can be considered a viable treatment for accumulated fatigue in workaholics. If the study above can be replicated in humans, it will provide more information on dosage needed and potential health risks.
What is your favorite way to drink green tea - hot or iced?
Tanaka M, Baba Y, Kataoka Y, Kinbara N. Sagesaka YM, Kakuda T, Watanabe, Y. Effects of (-) -epigallocatechin gallate in liver of an animal model of combined (physical and mental) fatigue. Nutrition 24(6):599-603, 2008