Sian Claire Owen, medical journalist for Cardio Debate, UK

Green tea is known for it’s health-giving benefits, although many of these are yet to be proven. Previous research has shown green tea to produce modest beneficial effects in terms of reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, however larger, more long-term trials are needed. [1]

However, researchers from Lancaster University and the University of Leeds, UK, have shown that one of the components of green tea could be an effective treatment of atherosclerosis. [2]

A molecule called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), found in green tea, was shown to break down apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1) in the presence of heparin. Apo-A1 sticks to plaques, making them larger and harder to break down. This discovery opens new avenues of research for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

However, although this is encouraging news, simply increasing your intake of green tea will not have much effect. [3] Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, tells the BHF Heart Matters Magazine that: “Our bodies are very good at breaking down EGCG, so swapping your cuppa for green tea is unlikely to make a big difference with respect to your heart health.

“But by engineering the molecule slightly, we might be able to make new medicines to treat heart attack and stroke.” [1]

Other lifestyle modifications such as reducing smoking, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise will also help reduce cholesterol, so these should be encouraged as part of a wider risk-reduction strategy.


  2. Townswend D, Hughes E, Akien G, et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate remodels apolipoprotein A-1 amyloid fibrils into soluble oligomers in the presence of heparin. J Biol Chem 2018; doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.002038