Water-soluble black Chinese (Pu-Erh) tea extract (BTE), which contains high gallic acid content, has been demonstrated to elicit antiobese effects in animals. Because gallic acid is related with the reduction of visceral fat and cholesterol contents and improvement of obesity in animals, we investigated the effects of BTE intake on 36 preobese Japanese adults (body mass index [BMI], >25- <30 kg/m(2)) in a 12-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled group comparison study using powdered barley tea with or without (placebo) BTE. A follow-up 4-week period after BTE intake termination was monitored to observe the withdrawal effect. All subjects ingested barley tea with or without BTE (333 mg) before each of the 3 daily meals. In the BTE-treated group, the mean pretreament values of body weight and BMI significantly decreased after intake and after BTE withdrawal. However, the corresponding values scored significant differences only from 8 weeks after intake (vs the placebo-treated group). The mean values of the waist circumference indicated a similar tendency. Furthermore, coronal navel section (same anatomical position) images of computed tomography of all BTE- and non-BTE-treated subjects revealed that the visceral fat areas (cm(2)) were significantly (P < .05) less in the former 12 weeks after BTE ingestion. Measured biochemical parameters did not indicate significant differences, and BTE-treated subjects did not complain of any adverse effects (abdominal distension, etc). Ingestion of BTE exhibited significant effects in reducing the mean waist circumference, BMI, and visceral fat values and might be useful for weight control and prevention of obesity development (or metabolic syndrome) in humans.
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