Pu’er tea has some similarities to black tea in high levels of the catechin EGCG, the potent antioxidant which contributes so many health benefits. It also has caffeine which carries benefits of its own. Pu’er tea’s uniqueness however comes from its fermentation. The process of fermentation gives the tea its flavor – and its health benefits. Let’s look at a number of these benefits supported by clinical research.
Promotes Weight Loss
Pu’er tea may well be on its way to becoming the newest weight-loss trend – and with good reason!
Studies done over the last decade have shown pu’er tea produces incredible weight loss results in people struggling with obesity and excess weight gain, in as little as 8 weeks. Results from the research indicate these amazing results come from promoting a healthy appetite and metabolism.
Researchers have observed fat loss in trial participants taking the pu’er tea occurred in the arms, hips and belly, areas where fat loss is often the most problematic. Trials also show cholesterol and triglyceride levels returned to normal and liver metabolism increased.
In trials, researchers used pu’er tea extract doses up to 3 grams daily. The effects of drinking pu’er tea daily may not prove as dramatic, but the research suggests that as a daily beverage pu’er tea may help with weight management and to sustain an active metabolism.
Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar
The caffeine in pu’er tea has shown an ability to lower blood sugar levels. The blood-sugar lowering ability in green and pu’er teas have often been attributed to the potent antioxidant EGCG. Recent research suggests it’s the caffeine.
The researchers ran tests on green and pu’er teas with and without caffeine in an effort to identify what caused the blood sugar decrease. No effect was observed in either tea when the caffeine was removed. When researchers returned caffeine to the samples, blood sugar decreased again.
This shows the value of caffeine in blood sugar management. It also shows the pu’er tea can help support blood sugar as caffeine is a natural component in it.
The fermentation process of pu’er tea introduces probiotic microorganisms into each cup. Like most probiotics, these aid digestion and improve absorption of nutrients.
Prevents LDL Oxidation Reducing Cardiovascular Risks
LDL molecules may be an essential part of cholesterol transport throughout the body, but they’re also the most susceptible to oxidation, a major factor in heart disease. Drugs (statins) have been used for decades in an attempt to address this problem, but they also come with unwanted side effects.
Research suggests Pu’er tea offers a natural alternative. Tests have shown pu’er tea increases glutathione, the body’s primary antioxidant which helps to protect LDL against oxidation. The tea also enhances the effect of several antioxidant enzymes responsible for protecting the body too.
Pu’er tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid known to promote calm and relaxation as well as help restore normal sleeping patterns. L-theanine boosts levels of brain chemicals GABA, serotonin and dopamine which also help deal with stress and relieve anxiety.
Protects Against Tumor Cells
Researchers have discovered Pu’er tea extract appears to offer protection against tumor cells. In tests, pu’er tea prevented the expression of the mutated P53 gene in tumor cells. P53 regulates the cellular lifecycle and tumor development has been connected to the activity of mutated P53 genes. This anti-tumor activity prompted researchers to suggest “Pu’erh tea as an anti-tumor agent with low side effects.”[vii]
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Cao ZH1, et al. Effect ofpu-erh tea on body fat and lipid profiles in rats with diet-induced obesity.
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Fang CY1, et al. Caffeine is responsible for the blood glucose-lowering effects of green tea and Puer tea extracts in BALB/cmice. Chin J Nat Med. 2015 Aug;13(8):595-601. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30055-8.
4. Bor-Sen Wang, et al. Protective effects of pu-erh tea on LDL oxidation and nitric oxide generation in macrophage cells. LWT - Food Science and Technology, Volume 41, Issue 6, 2008, Pages
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5. Yoto A, Motoki M, Murao S, Yokogoshi H. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. Journal of Physiological Anthropology.
6. Zhao L, Jia S, Tang W, Sheng J, Luo Y. Pu-erh Tea Inhibits Tumor Cell Growth by Down-Regulating Mutant p53. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2011;12(11):7581-7593. doi:10.3390/ijms12117581.