A team of researchers from Beiersdorf AG, Germany, have studied the biological effects of an extract of the white tea, which is the least processed version of the tea plant Camellia sinensis, on cultured human fat cells (called adipocytes) and pre-adipocytes.
Results showed that it effectively inhibits the generation of new adipocytes and stimulates fat mobilization from mature fat cells.
Also after treating the pre-adipocytes with the tea extract, the authors found that fat incorporation during the genesis of new adipocytes was reduced.
Marc Winnefeld, who led the team, said: "The extract solution induced a decrease in the expression of genes associated with the growth of new fat cells, while also prompting existing adipocytes to break down the fat they contain
"In the industrialized countries, the rising incidence of obesity-associated disorders including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes constitutes a growing problem.
“We've shown that white tea may be an ideal natural source of slimming substances".
Obesity is a widespread problem and in the UK alone about a quarter of the population is now obese, with almost 60 per cent of the population is predicted to be obese by 2050, according to a Which? report.
The study, called “White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes”, is published in BioMed Central's journal Nutrition and Metabolism.
The authors noted that there is a large body of evidence indicating that certain plant extracts and their respective bioactive components might have direct effects on adipose tissue .
To investigate how natural substances influence lipolysis (the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells) and adipogenesis (the formation of fat), the researchers determined the effects of white tea extract on cultured human subcutaneous pre-adipocytes and adipocytes.
They concluded: “The increase of obesity-related diseases highlights the need to further investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying fat metabolism.
“Overall, our data demonstrate that white tea extract solution effectively inhibits adipogenesis and stimulates lipolysis-activity.
“This plant extract is, therefore, an ideal natural source to modulate the adipocyte life cycle at different stages and to induce anti-obesity effects.”
White tea is made from the buds and first leaves of the plant used to make green tea and the black tea most commonly drunk in Western countries.
It is less processed than other teas and contains more of the ingredients thought to be active on human cells, such as methylxanthines (similar to caffeine) and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which the authors believe to be responsible for many of the anti-adipogenic effects demonstrated in their study.
Soucrce: Nutrition & Metabolism journals
“White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes”
Authors: Marc Winnefeld; Jörn Söhle; Anja Knott; Ursula Holtzmann, et al.