Beneficial effects of tea catechins on diet-induced obesity: stimulation of lipid catabolism in the liver

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Nov;26(11):1459-64. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802141.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Catechin / therapeutic use*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tea*


  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tea
  • Catechin