Objective: Obesity has increased at an alarming rate in recent years and is now a worldwide health problem. We investigated the effects of long-term feeding with tea catechins, which are naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds widely consumed in Asian countries, on the development of obesity in C57BL/6J mice.
Design: We measured body weight, adipose tissue mass and liver fat content in mice fed diets containing either low-fat (5% triglyceride (TG)), high-fat (30% TG), or high-fat supplemented with 0.1-0.5% (w/w) tea catechins for 11 months. The beta-oxidation activities and related mRNA levels were measured after 1 month of feeding.
Results: Supplementation with tea catechins resulted in a significant reduction of high-fat diet-induced body weight gain, visceral and liver fat accumulation, and the development of hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia. Feeding with tea catechins for 1 month significantly increased acyl-CoA oxidase and medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase mRNA expression as well as beta-oxidation activity in the liver.
Conclusion: The stimulation of hepatic lipid metabolism might be a factor responsible for the anti-obesity effects of tea catechins. The present results suggest that long-term consumption of tea catechins is beneficial for the suppression of diet-induced obesity, and it may reduce the risk of associated diseases including diabetes and coronary heart disease.