Green tea as inhibitor of the intestinal absorption of lipids: potential mechanism for its lipid-lowering effect

J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Mar;18(3):179-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2006.12.005.


Animal and epidemiological studies suggest that green tea catechins may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases [e.g., coronary heart disease (CHD)]. The health benefit of green tea has been attributed to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; however, considerable evidence suggests that green tea and its catechins may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering the plasma levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. Although the mechanism underlying such effect of green tea is yet to be determined, it is evident from in vitro and in vivo studies that green tea or catechins inhibit the intestinal absorption of dietary lipids. Studies in vitro indicate that green tea catechins, particularly (-)-epigallocatechin gallate, interfere with the emulsification, digestion, and micellar solubilization of lipids, critical steps involved in the intestinal absorption of dietary fat, cholesterol, and other lipids. Based on the observations, it is likely that green tea or its catechins lower the absorption and tissue accumulation of other lipophilic organic compounds. The available information strongly suggests that green tea or its catechins may be used as safe and effective lipid-lowering therapeutic agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Lipase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Micelles
  • Pancreas / enzymology
  • Phospholipases A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Rats
  • Tea*


  • Micelles
  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epicatechin gallate
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Lipase
  • Phospholipases A
  • gallocatechol