Boost Glucose Uptake With Green Tea

Blog Entry #76

By Admin –

Green tea, which is a popular dietary supplement for fat loss and weight loss, may also contain a compound that boosts insulin. Green tea’s primary active compound for longevity, anti-oxidant effects, fat burning and other health benefits is EGCG or epigallocatechine gallate. This is the compound we’re going to look at today and its effects on blood glucose levels and insulin.

The animal study was done in Korea in 2008, at the University of Kyung Hee. Rat muscles were given EGCG and glucose in test tubes and what they found was the muscles absorbed up to 70% more glucose in the EGCG group.









The graph above shows the effects on glucose when the EGCG was increased over a 30-minute period. 200nmol/L of insulin was used in the control group.

Glucose is absorbed into the muscle primarily in two ways. First, is via insulin and insulin mimickers, such as GDA (glucose disposal agents). The pathway of this action is called phosphoinositide 3-kinases (P13K). These GDAs include, sodium R-Lipoate (Na-r-ALA), chromium picolinate and cinnamon extract and are available over the counter as supplements and used post-workout or between meals.

The second is via the 5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) enzyme. This is more active post exercise and when exposed to more insulin, the muscle absorbs even more glucose. Glucose is absorbed as it helps shuttle nutrients into the muscle cells for recover, hypertrophy and growth. Bodybuilders and athletes use insulin because of these effects.

The Korean researchers wanted to understand how EGCG accelerates the uptake of glucose in the rat muscles. They used an agent that blocks the P13K pathway called LY294002. When the LY was added, the EGCG was blocked by up taking glucose, so the Koreans had concluded which pathway is used. This is shown in the graph below.










The main objective for this study was to learn about how EGCG works to help diabetes 2 suffers, and understand how dietary supplements and herbal products can aid in their condition.

Green tea is often part of pre-workout supplements due to its fat loss effects, small amounts of caffeine and its effects on lowering cortisol. But it may also be an interesting compound used post-workout due to it boosting glucose uptake and containing an insulin-boosting compound.

We suggest taking a green tea supplement every day to accelerate fat loss and for its health benefits in general. Green tea is a potent anti-oxidant and anti-cancer compound, so if you don’t supplement with it, a couple of cups of green tea per day would be a wise idea.


J Med Food. 2008 Sep;11(3):429-34.