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Matcha Catechins, What's EGCG? GreenTea EGCG Benefits, EGCG Supplement

Nicholas Noble | August 10, 2019

Have we always relied on plants to sustain our good health? As with nature there is little waste, it’s also not too surprising to recognize the mutual interactions we’ve developed with plants. 

Preface: Why Matcha has the Highest EGCG Content

Of course, not only oxygen, nor just as food; many plants’ natural compounds happen also to be essential to our survival, if not our best health. At least, that’s what the potent polyphenols and EGCG in matcha tea go to show. 

The health properties of matcha green tea are actually representative of something known as xenohormesis; to become healthier and more adaptable through what you eat (or drink, in this case).

The diverse phytocompounds in matcha tea both protect the tea leaves – and when we consume them – our health too. To be specific, the polyphenols in matcha tea protect against the elements, against infection, and against oxidation.

When we drink those potent matcha polyphenols everyday, they work to protect our health in many of the same ways.

Xenohormesis: Function of EGCG

With their role in the tea plant’s own cellular maintenance (e.g. protecting from sunlight), catechins are reported similarly to promote human health by scavenging free-radicals, modulating brain health, and supporting against cardiovascular disease.

It’s not only matcha tea either. Although a stand-out example because of the unprecedented antioxidant levels, matcha tea is one of many domesticated crops such as the grapevine, and even grains such as barley, which have been specially cultivated to contain a range of natural health compounds. 

Green Tea with Highest EGCG?

Matcha green tea is best source of natural EGCG. Particularly, polyphenols like the catechin EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) found in matcha are thought to confer anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and metabolic benefits.

These unique polyphenol antioxidants also range widely for our functional nutrition needs, working in tandem with the dense vitamin and mineral content of matcha tea. 

Health Benefits of Matcha Catechins

There are many catechins in matcha, not just EGCG (sometimes misspelled ECGC).

  • Some aid nutrient absorption, and overall microbiome health.
  • Others are more established as potential anti-cancer agents.
  • Matcha tea also contains a group of polyphenols known as flavonoids, with an equally unique range of health boosting properties.

Catechins are present in many dietary products such as plants, fruits (such as apples, blueberries, gooseberries, grape seeds, kiwi, strawberries), green tea, red wine, beer, cacao liquor, and chocolate.

Still, matcha tea is nature’s strongest source of EGCG.

History of Matcha EGCG

Considering that green tea dates as far back as all of recorded history, and that it’s long been referenced for longevity and daily vitality, it’s certainly intriguing that maybe our bodies have been programmed alongside these natural products in order to stay healthy. Possible?

According to the latest science it’s hardly a hunch. Today, many research studies establish traditional plants and herbal remedies as regulators of good health, often due to specialized phytocompounds which confer protections.

One of the most rigorously studied of these traditional health tonics is matcha green tea. The tea plant especially contains high quantities of polyphenols, a chemical group which hosts catechin flavonoids such as EGCG.

Common Names of EGCG

  • Epigallocatechin gallate
  • Epigallocatechin-3-gallate
  • EGCG (sometimes spelled on accident ECGC) 

EGCG and other Catechins

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) imparts more than just flavor to the matcha tea. It’s an example of potent catechins, found in their highest concentrations in nature; matcha (powdered green tea) is nature’s ultimate source of these.

  • The catechin EGCG also typifies the physiological improvements which catechins in general can offer to our health.
  • Example: Read about Heart Health & Matcha

How Many Antioxidants are in Matcha Tea?

More than a third of the dry weight of green tea (matcha closer to half) is composed of polyphenolics like EGCG and other catechins.

How much EGCG is in Matcha Tea?

One serving of Japan’s finest premium stone-ground matcha tea (1g = 1serving) contains about 10mg of EC (epicatechin), 41mg of EGC (epigallocatechin) , 4mg of ECG (epicatechin-3-gallate), and 30-35mg of EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate). 

What are the Health Benefits of EC, ECG, EGC, and EGCG?

Each of these unique catechin types are believed to synergize with our cellular mechanisms to improve energy and endurance, reduce inflammation and LDL cholesterol, and possess potential antitumor properties. 

These suggested benefits are evaluated most available by choosing daily (or twice daily) consumption of matcha tea. Furthermore, by selecting an authentic grade of matcha, you can ensure you are receiving a diverse range of these polyphenols, and even other flavonoids like quercetin.

EGCG for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)?

The latest science also argues how long-term catechin supplementation through green tea elevates BDNF and healthy brain structure, important biomarkers involved in cognitive health and memory.

Two Pathways for Increasing BDNF through Matcha Green Tea EGCG

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) functions in at least two ways to boost brain health and key neurohealth markers like NGF and BDNF. 

It’s also reported that the other popular compound in matcha, an amino acid known as L-theanine, is able to produce similar effects. 

Direct Absorption of EGCG

Once enjoyed through a beautiful emerald green cup of matcha tea, the EGCG can be absorbed directly by the gut, into the nervous system, and into the brain. This is reported for a direct effect on brain health and mood. 

Gut-Brain Axis influence of Matcha Tea

The second pathway that EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is able to possibly improve brain function, is by providing a probiotic effect in the gut. By helping the microbiome to produce healthier levels of lactate, it’s recommended that matcha polyphenols may indirectly improve brain health.

How to get the most EGCG and Polyphenols

Here’s how to make the most of catechins, the antioxidant powerhouses of matcha tea.

  • Daily matcha is recommended for the greatest reward from these long-held properties.
  • Matcha is the finest source for some of nature’s key health compounds, many that are unlikely or impossible to find in regular diet.

Also, unlike brewed green tea, with matcha the whole leaf is also consumed as a fine powder, allowing these compounds an ample absorption. 

Long-term Benefits of Matcha Tea Polyphenols like EGCG, and ECG

In the pursuit of health benefits from matcha, it’s recommended to minimize milk additives. The natural milk protein, casein, binds strongly to catechins

  • That’s not good, because that means adverse action against the therapeutic range of those polyphenols.
  • But in good news, in at least one study green tea without milk also demonstrated an improved arterial relaxation and blood flow. Good cause to consider switching to a non-dairy milk with matcha. 

Bioavailability of EC, ECG, EGC, and EGCG in Matcha Powder

Keeping matcha’s catechins in a bioavailable form means they will also remain effective as suggested in the possible fight against viruses, parasites, and fungal infections.

This scope of immunomodulation with matcha is thought to draw from catechins’ inhibition of host-cell binding sites, thus reducing infectious spread.

  • This effect is associated with significantly fewer cases of flu and flu-like symptoms in controlled studies. 
  • At least one study also provided that a twice-daily green tea supplement for 3 months limited the occurrence of the common cold by more than 30%.
    • Another study of school-aged children found an inverse relationship between flu diagnoses and cups of green tea.  

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Future of EGCG and Frequent Questions

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is even under study for capabilities in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria, adding to the thought how a daily bowl of matcha has a lot to offer!

How Much Matcha Each Day for EGCG Benefits

Clinical research reports that even twice a day for the long-term (at least 3 months) could be in order to maximize all of these mentioned health possibilities, including the immune boost of EGCG and other catechins.

How much Caffeine is in EGCG?

This is a common confusion. While some green tea extracts will add caffeine, technically caffeine is a separate molecule from the catechin antioxidants like EGCG. It’s recommended to choose a matcha tea powder rather than to rely on extracts of green tea. 

This way, you can rest assured you’re receiving the natural balance of health boosting compounds that nature intended!

Are EGCG Green Tea Extracts Safe?

The polyphenol antioxidants in powdered matcha tea are widely regarded as safe, especially when enjoyed in the traditional tea powder known as matcha. You can rely on matcha rather than extracts, to help ensure you’re receiving the proper balance of natural compounds. 

There is not enough research on extracts to deem them safer nor more effective than matcha tea. 

Is it ECGC or EGCG?

It’s an easy mistake to make, technically it’s EGCG, and not ECGC. Remember, don’t be confused by the other polyphenols in matcha, these do include EC, EGC, and ECG.

Does EGCG Stimulate the nervous system?

The catechin EGCG is not a stimulant in the typical sense. It does influence your health, and can stimulate natural energy levels by helping to burn fat and balance metabolism. 

It may also improve alertness and cognitive performance, therefore giving a sense of improved stimulation.

Which green tea doesn’t contain EGCG?

Polyphenols like EGCG are natural to the green tea plant, and are present in some levels in each case. If you’re concerned with levels of EGCG intake, please note that matcha tea contains safe levels of these health compounds.

How are EGCG and green tea extract different?

It’s not true that EGCG is the same as a green tea extract. This unique polyphenol is only one of many natural nutrients in tea, which together tend to work best in conjunction with each other.

Therefore matcha tea is the ultimate way of boosting EGCG intake, because you are able to enjoy the whole tea leaf as a powder, rather than steeping it. And you get the balance of antioxidants unlike an extract. 

Is EGCG a Skin Supplement? 

There’s some research that the antioxidants in matcha have active effects on skin health. It’s considered that these benefits can stem from the microbiome boost, and the cellular antioxidant activities of EGCG; potentially protecting your skin from oxidative stress. 

What benefits can you expect with EGCG?

One of the most noticeably benefits of EGCG when enjoyed through matcha tea, is the reported relaxation effect for your cardiovascular system. This specialized polyphenol helps your blood vessels to relax, and is one reason that matcha, as a source of EGCG, is suggested for heart health. 

Health you can actually feel, right away!

What’s a safe dose of EGCG?

When consumed through an authentic matcha tea, there is no established unsafe limit of EGCG. The composition of matcha powder allows for each of the individual antioxidants to regulate each other. 

Is Powdered Green Tea (matcha) the best for EGCG?

Matcha is widely considered the superior means of increasing EGCG intake. That’s because your body gets a chance to digest the entire powder, rather than to drink a steeped tea drink.

Can you take EGCG if you have liver problems?

According to EFSA, there are no causes for concern when enjoying matcha tea. However, since extracts are not known to be safe, it’s suggested to stick with the traditional tea options like Matcha powder.

Best time of day to take EGCG?

It’s recommended to enjoy your bowl of matcha tea both in the morning and early afternoon. This way you receive all-day energy and the optimal EGCG and antioxidant levels, without the worry.

Is there such a thing as Too Much Matcha Antioxidants/EGCG?

If you’re concerned about antioxidant intake, and whether you’re getting enough (or too much) of the key polyphenols like EGCG, we recommend to read our review “Can you have too much Matcha?”

  • Good news! The short answer is No.

Best EGCG Matcha | EGCG Benefits Conclusion

In an era of cutting-edge science, novel diseases therapies, and an unending stream of natural and synthetic supplements, the catechin antioxidants, like EGCG, found in matcha tea powder remains one of our oldest allies in the quest to stay healthy.

With thousands of years of history behind green tea generally, and the past 1,000 years of matcha tea cultivation in Japan, we’re lucky now to understand some of the ‘how’ behind EGCG health benefits, and matcha benefits overall. 

No longer just about the robust amino acids in matcha tea, we now know the broad range of catechins as well help to make for strong antioxidant properties, immunomodulation, and the sought-after cognitive boost.

  

-Team Matcha Kari

 

 

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