A breakthrough study out of England recently caught my eye…
This latest research found that green tea holds the key to preventing deaths from heart attack and stroke caused by atherosclerosis.
I’ve written to you before about how green tea can protect against a number of chronic diseases — including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and depression.
After all, this popular beverage has a centuries-old reputation for healing both mind and body.
But this latest study takes the research in a brand new direction.
Scientists from Lancaster University and the University of Leeds were originally investigating how a potent compound in green tea could reduce the amyloid plaques that build up between nerve cells in the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
But during their research, they made a startling discovery.
The researchers found that this compound — called EGCG — can break up and dissolve dangerous protein plaques in your blood vessels.1
Almost eliminating your risk of atherosclerosis…
Atherosclerosis — or hardening of the arteries — is the build-up of fatty material inside our arteries that can reduce the flow of blood to the heart and brain.
And as the disease progresses, a protein called apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1) forms amyloid deposits similar to those associated with Alzheimer’s.
These amyloid deposits build up inside plaque-filled arteries. Then they increase the size of the plaques, which further restricts blood flow — increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
But the EGCG compounds in green tea break down the formation of apoA-1 fibers and prevent them from sticking to the arteries. This keeps the arteries clear — and allows blood to flow freely.
While this is the first study that shows how green tea prevents heart disease, it isn’t the first to make a connection between the two…
A large study of 40,530 Japanese adults found that those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day had a 26% lower risk of heart attack death than those who drank less than one cup a day. 1
And a meta-analysis of 13 green tea studies and five for black tea found that people who drank the most green tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least green tea. Black tea had no effect on heart risk.
That’s because green tea has about five times more EGCG than black or oolong tea. I suggest getting about 50 mg a day.
But I recommend brewing your own tea rather than buying it ready-made. When you buy bottled green tea, you’ll most likely end up sipping overpriced, heavily caffeinated, sugar water with barely any of the beneficial EGCG.
A 2018 review by ConsumerLab.com, the independent tester which verifies the quality of many of my own products, recently revealed the truth about four brand-name, bottled green teas.2.3
Only one brand, Harney & Sons Organic Green, delivered 46.8 mg of EGCG, which is close to my recommended dosage. All the other brands measured significantly lower. And one, Diet Snapple Green Tea, came in as low as 3.5 mg.4
Some of my patients don’t care for the taste of green tea. In that case, supplement with green tea extract. Look for an extract that’s standardized to at least 50% EGCGs. Take between 25 mg and 250 mg of green tea extract a day.
2 More Ways to Protect Your Arteries and Prevent Heart Disease
Green tea isn’t the only nutrient that keeps your arteries flowing freely. Here are two more I suggest:
- Maintain strong arteries with the “forgotten” vitamin. Most people forget about vitamin K. But it’s essential for proper blood flow and clear arteries.
In a study involving nearly 6,000 people, blood pressure decreased with vitamin K intake. Vitamin K was also found to maintain vascular health and arterial elasticity.5
There are actually two types of vitamin K – K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is used by the liver to activate blood clotting proteins — it also keeps your blood vessels from calcifying.
You’ll find vitamin K1 in broccoli and Brussels sprouts, in green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and Swiss chard, and in spices like basil and sage. Parsley is another good source of vitamin K1.
To supplement, I recommend you take 45 mcg to 90 mcg of vitamin K1 a day. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so take it with a meal to improve absorption.
Note: If you’re taking a blood-thinning agent like Coumadin, talk to your doctor first. The blood clotting benefits of vitamin K can interfere with this drug. Newer blood-thinning drugs like Eliquis are not affected by vitamin K.
- Use the B vitamin that’s better than any heart drug. You probably know vitamin B9 better as folate or folic acid. Folate is the nutrient found in food, while folic acid is the supplement form.
Folic acid lowers levels of toxic substances that irritate the heart’s lining. This relaxes your blood vessels and keeps them flexible. Less irritations equates to normalized pulse pressure and a reduction in stroke and heart attack.
Simply put, when folate is high your risk of heart attack drops by up to 50%.6
Natural sources of folate are dark green vegetables as well as beef, lamb, chicken liver and eggs. But your body only absorbs half the folate you get from food.
So I recommend supplementing with 800 mcg a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Townsend D, et al. “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate remodels apolipoprotein A-I amyloid fibrils into soluble oligomers in the presence of heparin.” J Biol Chem. 2018;293(33):12877-12893.
2. Kuriyama S, et al. “Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: The Ohsaki study.” JAMA. 2006;296(10):1255-1265.
3. ConsumerLab.com. Green Tea Review: Supplements, Brewable, Matcha, and Bottled. consumerlab.com/reviews/Green_Tea_Review_Matcha_Supplements_and_Bottled/Green_Tea/ Updated July 20, 2018. Accessed August 23, 2018.
6. Pan Y and Jackson R. “Dietary phylloquinone intakes and metabolic syndrome in US young adults.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2009;28(4):369-379.
7. Cui R, et al. “Dietary folate and vitamin B6 and B12 intake in relation to mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Japan collaborative cohort study.” Stroke. 2010;41(6):1285-1289.