Green tea and Camellia Sinensis Leaf

AvatrimGreen tea is made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, which is an evergreen shrub. Green tea, a minimally processed variety of tea, is first withered then dried immediately after picking to halt oxidation. Recently, much has been said about the antioxidant properties of the constituents of green tea. The active constituents include catechins and polyphenols. Tea extracts formulated for high-polyphenol content contain the greatest amounts of beneficial substances as they are highly concentrated formulations.

Human studies have assessed the effect of green tea extract (GTE) capsules on weight loss and weight maintenance in average weight and overweight individuals. (Shixian Q et al. J Med Food. 2006; Wang X et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001; Cooper R, et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2005; Murase T et al. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002; Sayama K. In Vivo. 2000). It is being compared to Ephedra, which is a popular product being used for weight loss. The physiological effects of green tea are in fact similar to ephedra for obesity. Green tea increases the 24 hour energy expenditure, fat oxidation and thermogenesis.

Thermogenesis, a process of energy generation at the cellular level, plays an important role in the proper utilization of food and nutrients. The stored body fat can also be utilized by this process. Thus it reduces the total fat content of the body. The study showed that the weight loss associated with intake of GTE is due to an increase in thermogenesis. This is attributed to the catechins, especially epigallocatechin gallate, which also potentiates the thermogenic property of caffeine, present in green tea. (Shixian et al . J Med Food. 2006). Green tea extract inhibits the breakdown of Norepinephrine, which is an important hormone responsible for the breakdown of fat. Regarding green tea and thermogenesis, a study examining the benefits of functional food products for the management of weight showed that green tea increased energy expenditure over a 24-hour period.

Catechins have been shown to decrease the synthesis of fatty acids and also reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood. (Shixian et al . J Med Food. 2006; Cooper R, et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2005; Murase T et al. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002). Researchers in Japan found that green tea by suppressing lipid metabolism, also suppresses fat accumulation in the body and thus body weight and body weight increases, and decreased leptin levels, which  are all tied to obesity(Sayama K in In Vivo, 2000). Green tea may also reduce the digestibility of dietary fats via inhibition of enzymes required for fat digestion.

There are no established doses for the benefits of green tea or green tea extract. One cup of tea contains approximately 80-100 mg of polyphenols and 50 mg of caffeine. Regarding safety, the caffeine content of green tea is responsible for most of the side effects like insomnia, increase in the heart rate, increased urination and psychological dependence. Preliminary reports show that consumption of green tea may be associated with estrogen deficiency, but there is no conclusive evidence that it may cause hot flashes.


Biotin is a water soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B-complex family. It plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It helps in providing energy, promoting health of hair, important for growth and for the health of the central nervous system. Recently, it has been shown to have metabolic effects that promote energy utilization and fight insulin resistance, the two important factors in weight gain and obesity. (Zhang et al. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 1996, Reddi et al .  Life Sciences. 1998. Reddi et al  in Life Sciences, 1998).

In humans, it is proven to improve the glucose tolerance, and its important role in the metabolism of glucose has been commented upon. (Koutsikos et al . Renal Failure, 1996). Insulin resistance leads to hyperinsulinism (increased levels of insulin in the blood). Hyperinsulinism, in turn, leads to increase in fat synthesis in adipocytes and is strongly linked to obesity. In addition, resistance to insulin also compromises on the efficiency of insulin mediated thermogenesis, which leads to an increase in the weight gain.

Biotin improves the efficiency of insulin action and can thus promote weight loss. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for biotin is 300 micrograms. No side effects of biotin have been reported at doses of even 10 mg per day. Sources rich in this vitamin include liver, kidney, molasses, peas, avocado and green leafy vegetables.


L-Carnitine is an amino acid, essential for fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial function and energy production in the cells. It transports fat into the mitochondria and thus helps in fat metabolism. It increases fatty-acid oxidation and glucose utilization. In a clinical trial involving healthy individuals, oral l-carnitine demonstrated a reduction in the total fat mass, increased the muscle mass and a favorable effect on fatigue and serum lipids, thus it increased weight loss without altering the fat to lean body mass ratio. (Kelly GS. Altern Med Rev. 1998).L-Carnitine is found in meat and dairy products or is synthesized from other amino acids (lysine and methionine) in the liver and kidney. As it is a non-essential amino acid, no RDA values have been established. However, doses upto 2-6 gms/day have been used for various conditions. Consumption of oral supplements may be associated with nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, but no significant side effects have been observed.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) also known as thioctic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant that plays an important role in energy reactions in the body and also helps the body to utilize glucose.

Researchers have shown that ALA reduces body weight and prevents development of diabetes in diabetes prone rats by improving the insulin sensitivity.( Lee et al . Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005). ALA mitigates the insulin resistance in them via an anti-oxidative mechanism. (Bitar MS et al in Horm Metab Res. 2004). It has been shown that ALA-induced improvement of insulin sensitivity is by activation of an enzyme called AMPK and reduced triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle. It acts on the hypothalamus and suppresses the food intake in addition to increasing the energy expenditure. This mechanism also plays an important role in its anti-obesity effect. (Kim MS in Nature Med 2004). There are no current recommendations regarding the dosage of ALA. Food sources of ALA include spinach, broccoli, beef and kidney.

R-Lipoic acid

R-lipoic acid (RLA) is the naturally occurring form of lipoic acid and is also the biologically active form of lipoic acid. S-lipoic acid (SLA) is a form of lipoic acid that is synthetically created during the production of lipoic acid. SLA is less effective than RLA, and at higher concentrations, it may inhibit mitochondrial metabolism.

RLA is a powerful antioxidant and also lowers blood sugars by being a mimic of insulin. It causes a significant increase in the insulin sensitivity, increases metabolic rate and decreases the fat gain in the body. (Jacob S et al . Free Rad Biol Med. 1999, Moines H et al . Arch Biochem Biophys. 2002). It decreases the level of serum lactate and pyruvate in diabetic patients, improves the glucose uptake by cells. ( Korotchkina et al . Free Radical Res. 2004).

Piper Nigrum and Bioperine

Piper nigrum is commonly known as black pepper, has long been advocated for various complaints as an active ingredient in several Ayurvedic preparations. It also has a role in weight loss. Two of its active ingredients; bioperine and piperine are especially effective. It has recently been investigated and very encouraging results are found. Several mechanisms are postulated to play a role in the loss of weight.

Piperine has been shown to decrease the total lipid content in the rat testes via inhibition of enzymes involved in fat synthesis. (MaliniT et al. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1999).

Bioperine, enhances thermogenesis and therefore increases the energy expenditure.

A study has shown that alkamides isolated from the fruit of piper nigrum inhibit an enzyme called diacylglycerol acyltransferase. This inhibition of this enzyme has emerged as a therapeutic target in the management of obesity. (Lee SW et al in J Agric Food Chem. 2006)
It is also known to enhance the absorption of nutrients in the intestine, which is important in maintaining a healthy metabolic state.


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7.     Reddi A.; DeAngelis B.; Frank O.; Lasker N.; Bakura H. Biotin supplementation improves glucose and insulin tolerances in genetically   diabetic KK mice. LIFE SCI. 1988, 42(13):1323-1330
8.     Zhang H.; Osada K.; Maebashi M.,Ito M., Komai M., Furukawa Yand H. ZhangA high biotin diet improves the impaired glucose tolerance of long-term spontaneously hyperglycemic rats with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Japan).1996;42(6):517-526
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17.   Moines H, Trios O, Park YC, Chow KJ, Packer L R-alpha-Lipoic Acid Action on Cell Redox Status, the Insulin Receptor, and Glucose Uptake in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2002;15:397(2): 384-91.
18.   Korotchkina LG, Sidhu S and Patel MS. R-lipoic acid inhibits mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. Free Radical Res. 2004;38:1083-1092
19.   WHO. Available on. Accessed on 10/02/07
20.   CDC. Available at. Accessed on 10/02/07
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22.   National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Available at. Accessed on 10/02/2007.

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