Drink Pu’er Tea For Weight Loss
Pu’er tea holds a special place in Chinese culture. Once it was a tea reserved only for royalty. Use as a digestive aid, for the treatment of liver and heart diseases and to support immune health made it a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Recently it became popular in the West for its unique flavor. It’s very likely that popularity is about to grow fast! Today, research shows it encourages weight loss.
“Consumption…was associated with statistically significant weight loss…”
In 2016, researchers studied the effect of pu’er tea extract in 59 overweight and obese individuals.[i] Although they measured factors like lipid profile, the study focused on weight loss. One group received 3 grams of pu’er tea extract daily; the other received a placebo.
By the end of the 20-week study, fat loss was observed in the arms, legs, hips and belly. In addition to the weight loss, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides returned to normal at eight weeks. The pu’er tea also helped to control appetite too.
These results matched two earlier Japanese studies.
- In one 12-week study, overweight Japanese adults took 333 mg of pu’er tea extract before meals or a placebo. The pu’er tea group had slimmer waists as soon as 8 weeks after starting the trial![ii]
- The other began as a study into pu’er tea’s effect on cholesterol levels. Early animal studies had suggested pu’er tea improved liver function, reduced cholesterol and improved metabolism to prevent weight gain. [iii] In this study with people with high cholesterol, researchers measured pu’er tea’s effect on LDL and total cholesterol levels. The levels fell for those who took the pu’er tea extract. So did their body weight.[iv]
In all of the studies, no adverse side effects were reported from those taking the pu’er tea. Researchers concluded “daily consumption of pu’er tea extract was associated with significant weight loss…”[v]
Ways Pu’er Tea Promotes Weight Loss
Researchers have observed the caffeine compounds called catechins and theanine in tea encourage weight loss. Like green tea, pu’er tea has high levels of EGCG, a potent catechin, which helps lower cholesterol and burn fat. (EGCG and green tea extract have been popular weight loss supplements for a while.)
But pu’er tea also contains compounds that specifically support the liver and cholesterol:
- Theabrownin, a primary active compound in pu’er tea, has also shown the ability to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps promote the burning of cholesterol and fat to keep levels normal.[vi]
- Pu’er tea also contains lovastatin, a naturally occurring cholesterol-lowering compound. (It’s the natural basis for statin drugs.) But lovastatin can only be found in pu’er due to its unique production method which includes fermentation. Researchers have noted raw pu’er tea, or the type that is not fermented, does not contain it; only the fermented forms of pu’er tea contain lovastatin.[vii]
While a lot more research is needed to understand all the ways pu’er tea encourages weight loss, the studies so far show the most important fact. It does.
Alternatives if You Find You Don’t Like Pu’er Tea
Drinking pu’er tea daily comes with many benefits. Aside from those that support the metabolism, weight loss and the liver, a warm cup of tea is a great way to relax. Taking a few moments of quiet with a tea you enjoy has its own health benefits!
Pu’er tea, however, can be an acquired taste. Though each preparation is unique, it’s often described as earthy or tannic. Drinking it daily would certainly provide health benefits to some degree, but if it isn’t your taste, there are other options. Pu’er tea extracts like those used in the research studies are available, just make sure you find ones from sources that guarantee quality and potency to enjoy the best results.
[i] Jensen GS, Beaman JL, He Y, Guo Z, Sun H. Reduction of body fat and improved lipid profile associated with daily consumption of a Puer tea extract in a hyperlipidemic population: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2016;11:367-376. doi:10.2147/CIA.S94881.
[ii] Kubota K1, et al. Improvements of mean body mass index and body weight in preobese and overweight Japanese adults with black Chinese tea (Pu-Erh) water extract. Nutr Res. 2011 Jun;31(6):421-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2011.05.004. Epub 2011 Jun 17.
[iii] Cao ZH1, et al. Effect of pu-erh tea on body fat and lipid profiles in rats with diet-induced obesity. Phytother Res. 2011 Feb;25(2):234-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3247.
[iv] Fujita H1, Yamagami T. Antihypercholesterolemic effect of Chinese black tea extract in human subjects with borderline hypercholesterolemia. Nutr Res. 2008 Jul;28(7):450-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.04.005.
[v] Jensen GS, Beaman JL, He Y, Guo Z, Sun H. Reduction of body fat and improved lipid profile associated with daily consumption of a Puer tea extract in a hyperlipidemic population: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2016;11:367-376. doi:10.2147/CIA.S94881.
[vi] Gong J1, et al. Effects of theabrownin from pu-erh tea on the metabolism of serum lipids in rats: mechanism of action. J Food Sci. 2010 Aug 1;75(6):H182-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01675.x.
[vii] Zhao ZJ1, et al. Exposure assessment of lovastatin in Pu-erh tea. Int J Food Microbiol. 2013 Jun 3;164(1):26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.03.018. Epub 2013 Mar 26.