Green Tea Boosts Recovery


From Ergo Log


Green tea supplements don’t just protect muscles during heavy physical exertion. The catechins in tea also speed up recovery after exercise. An animal study published by researchers at the Japanese Kao Corporation in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise provides evidence.


The Japanese gave mice a green tea extract they had made themselves. It consisted of 41 percent epigallocatechin gallate, 23 percent epigallocatechin, 12 percent epicatechin gallate, 9 percent epicatechin and 7 percent gallocatechin.



The researchers mixed the catechins in the lab animals’ food. The concentration of the extract in the feed was 0.5 percent.


A group of mice ate the feed enriched with tea extract for three weeks. A control group ate normal feed. At the end of the period the researchers got the mice to run downhill on a treadmill, an easy way to develop considerable muscle damage.


One day later, before the mice’s muscles had had a chance to recover, the researchers made the animals run on a treadmill again. They observed that the mice that had been given tea extract [Cat] were capable of running for a significantly longer time than the mice who had been given feed with no additives [Down].



The researchers measured the twitch force the mice’s muscles generated after being given an electric shock. They did this immediately after the downhill session and again after 24 hours. On both occasions the muscles of the mice that had been given the extract performed better.



The researchers measured the concentration of several indicators of muscle damage and inflammation in the muscle tissue of the mice. Supplementation with green tea catechins resulted in noticeably lower concentrations of malondialdehyde, TNF-alpha, interleukin 1-beta and MCP-1 24 hours after the downhill session than those found in the mice that had been given standard feed.


The same was true for the concentration of muscle damage indicators in the blood, for example of creatine kinase [CK] and LDH. These were also lower in the mice that had been given green tea extract.



“Catechin consumption alleviates some oxidative stress and inflammation in mouse muscles after an episode of downhill running and promotes recovery of physical performance”, the researchers summarise their findings. “These findings have important implications and will help to establish human nutritional strategies that hasten recovery of postexercise physical performance.”


Just a small moan to add though: the human equivalent of the dose they used would be 3-5 g green tea extract per day. For some, that might be on the high side.



Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Sep;45(9):1694-702.



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