From protein powders to supplements and drinks, there’s no shortage of green tea extract as an ingredient. Why is it so popular? Well, green tea extract comes with a whole host of benefits, from increased energy to antioxidants. But here’s the thing: it’s not for everyone. In fact, if you have a thyroid issue, start reading product labels carefully. Green tea extract may do more harm than good.
The difference between green tea & green tea extract
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world. It’s warm, comforting, and packs some potent positives. Green tea serves up caffeine, right alongside the ability to lower cholesterol, boost the memory part of your brain, and help manage blood pressure.
While it’s perfectly okay for most of us to pour a cup of green tea, it’s important to know that green tea extract isn’t quite the same thing. Green tea extract offers up polyphenols, vitamins, and flavonoids in a highly concentrated form. These antioxidants are potent and may help with body composition, increase cell signaling and promote new brain pathways, and may even hold anti-tumor capabilities.
Cautions for green tea extract
Green tea extract is available in a variety of forms, like pills, capsules, and liquid. It’s even snuck its way into some protein powders and bars, energy products, and drinks. So how diligent should you be about checking products and dosage? If you’re dealing with (or suspect) a thyroid condition, take caution. Green tea extract could be bad for your thyroid.
Concentration of green tea extract
We mentioned that green tea extract has flavonoids. The most plentiful are called catechins. Catechins do a lot of good in small doses—they’re disease-fighting and one of the biggest reasons to drink tea. But in extract form, you’re getting a lot more than you would by sipping out of a mug.
High amounts of green tea extract may have goitrogenic (antithyroid) effects. Studies in animals have shown that too much green tea extract lowered circulating levels of thyroid hormones—both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) then spiked as a result. It also affected antithyroid antibodies, where your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid gland.
What to avoid
It’s easy overdo it with green tea extract. It’s hard to know how your body will respond and what’s too much for a person’s thyroid health may vary. Plus, many products with green tea extract don’t disclose the amount on their labels.
You may want to avoid energy drinks and supplements that say they include green tea extract. If you feel like green tea extract’s other benefits outweigh the risks, talk to your doctor about a dedicated supplement. It will list its ingredients and also provide you with detailed, precise information about exactly how much you’re getting.