Clayton's Health Facts: Oolong Tea.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.
What is it and where does it come from?

Oolong tea is a popular family of teas grown in Taiwan and China.

Oolong teas are partially fermented teas. Oolong blends include: Wu Yi - Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), Song Zhong Dan Cong (SONG Species Lone Bush), Feng Huang - Shui Xian (Water Fairy), Yong Chun - Fo Shou (Buddha's Hand) and An Xi - Tie Guan Yin (Iron Guan Yin goddess of mercifulness).

What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Oolong teas were first grown by ancient Chinese emperors and were highly valued for their rich flavor and apparent health boosting abilities.

Long consumed to enhance health and prevent illness, oolong tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants in oolong tea scavenge the body for free radicals - molecules that can damage muscle tissue, hinder immune system function and cause cancer - and prevent oxidative stress.

Oolong tea contains caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and causes fat to be released into the blood stream for use as fuel.1 Thermogenesis is the process of fat being used for energy, and an increase in body temperature is the result of this process (heat is the waste product of fat being converted into glucose). In this way oolong tea provides energy, sheds excess water, and helps to burn bodyfat.2 For this reason, it is a common ingredient in over-the-counter nutritional fat-loss supplements.

Oolong tea can enhance focus because of its caffeine content. Caffeine helps to stimulate the frontal cortex of the brain and this results in intense focus, improved memory function, and enhanced thinking abilities. Persons who supplement with oolong tea report an increased desire to train.

By causing fat to be burned for fuel, oolong tea can lead to long-term reductions in blood pressure. If used appropriately, oolong tea can help prevent hypertension.

Oolong tea may also improve glucose utilization and insulin regulation. Consequently, oolong tea can be an effective addition to a type-2 diabetes treatment program.3

Oolong tea is a rich source of tanic acid. Tanic acid improves oral health and has been shown to speed recovery and healing after oral surgery. Although the mechanisms of action are not fully understood, oolong tea has been shown to prevent the buildup of plaque on teeth.4

Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Everyone can benefit from supplementing with Oolong tea.

Oolong tea supplies energy to working muscles, enhances focus and mental function, cleanses the body from harmful toxins, and promotes oral health.

Oolong tea can be of benefit to all people, regardless of age and activity level.

No symptoms of deficiency exist.

How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Strictly adhere to label recommendations.

Oolong tea should not be taken on an empty stomach.

Excessive use of caffeine containing products can lead to insulin resistance, tolerance and metabolic down-regulation. Oolong tea should be used in moderation.

Some people are sensitive to stimulants and all persons should consult with a physician prior to changing their health behavior.

REFERENCES

1. Komatsu T, Nakamori M, Komatsu K, Hosoda K, Okamura M, Toyama K, Ishikura Y, Sakai T, Kunii D, Yamamoto S. Oolong tea increases energy metabolism in Japanese females. J Med Invest. 2003 Aug;50(3-4):170-5.

2. Rumpler W, Seale J, Clevidence B, Judd J, Wiley E, Yamamoto S, Komatsu T, Sawaki T, Ishikura Y, Hosoda K. Oolong tea increases metabolic rate and fat oxidation in men. J Nutr. 2001 Nov;131(11):2848-52.

3. Hosoda K, Wang MF, Liao ML, Chuang CK, Iha M, Clevidence B, Yamamoto S. Antihyperglycemic effect of oolong tea in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Jun;26(6):1714-8.

4. Ooshima T, Minami T, Aono W, Tamura Y, Hamada S. Reduction of dental plaque deposition in humans by oolong tea extract. Caries Res. 1994;28(3):146-9.