What is EGCG? Is it the same as green tea extract? Is it good for antiaging? Are there downsides to EGCG supplementation? You may have these questions and more. Let’s take a closer look at EGCG so you can determine if you should integrate it into your anti-aging routine.
What is EGCG?
EGCG stands for epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a plant compound. It’s classified as a polyphenol, which works like an antioxidant in the body. You may have heard of another popular polyphenol, resveratrol, which is commonly found in red wine and berries. Polyphenols have been linked to a number of health benefits, and EGCG is no exception. In fact, it’s one of the most effective!
What Foods Contain EGCG?
EGCG is found in varying amounts in the following:
- Tea plant (Camellia sinensis): green, white, oolong, and black teas
- Fruits and berries: apples, avocados, cherries, kiwi, pears, peaches, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries
- Nuts: pecans, pistachios, and hazelnuts
EGCG in Tea
The most prominent source of EGCG by far is tea, and specifically, green tea. The EGCG in other foods is present in much smaller amounts.
The fermentation process that oolong and black teas go through reduces the amount of EGCG in the leaves compared to white and green teas. White tea is more expensive and not as readily available, leaving green tea as the most accessible and abundant source of EGCG.
Dried green tea leaves or bags are convenient to purchase and store. However, to optimize the amount of EGCG, opt for fresh tea leaves. As tea ages, it loses EGCG. Fresh green tea can contain as much as 15 times the amount of EGCG as its dried counterpart.
And if you really want to maximize the level of EGCG, try matcha green tea. Matcha differs from traditional green tea in that the entire leaf is dried, ground into a powder, and mixed into water — as opposed to simply steeping tea leaves in water and discarding them. This means with matcha you’re consuming the whole leaf and all of its nutrients in a more potent form. One study that compared EGCG levels between matcha and other green teas found matcha contained at least 3 times the amount of EGCG, and in one case, 137 times the amount!
Since it may be difficult to know exactly how much EGCG is in the green tea you buy at the grocery store, a supplement may be the most effective way to consume adequate and measurable amounts of EGCG for anti aging.
If you want to take EGCG as a supplement, you’ll find green tea extract readily available. On average, green tea extract is made up of about 50% EGCG.
Just make sure it is a high quality supplement from a trusted brand. Unfortunately, supplements are not FDA regulated, making it difficult to ensure you get a pure product. It is also important to keep in mind that very high doses of EGCG may promote liver damage and can negatively interact with certain drugs.
Additionally, pregnant women are advised to discuss EGCG supplementation with their doctor, as it could interfere with the metabolism of folate and thereby increase the risk of birth defects.
How Does EGCG Help with Anti Aging?
EGCG acts as an antioxidant. As such, it strengthens the skin barrier and protects it from free radical activity. The reduction of inflammation helps to prevent wrinkles from forming, and rejuvenates skin cells. Studies of green tea extract, of which EGCG is the main component, also indicate it improves skin elasticity, increases skin moisture, and smoothes rough skin. It’s also been shown to help treat acne and rosacea.
How Can I Best Use EGCG for Anti Aging?
Whether in the form of green tea or green tea extract, both consuming EGCG and applying it topically can help make your skin look and feel younger! Here are some tips to use ECGC for antiaging purposes:
- Drink 3 cups of green tea per day.
- Skip the bottled green teas and energy drinks that contain green tea extract. They contain excess sugars and other additives which may go against your anti-aging goals.
- Drink tea between meals, rather than with food. EGCG can bind to proteins in our food and reduce absorption of other minerals.
- Treat your skin with EGCG daily! Whether you DIY a green tea mask or you prefer to use skincare products that already contain green tea extract, you have options! Use something that fits in with your regular routine, and stay consistent with it.
- A note for DIYers: topically, green tea extract works best when used in combination with other antioxidants. For example, Vitamin C keeps EGCG from degrading, and EGCG helps boost the antioxidant activity of Vitamins C and E.
EGCG: A Powerhouse for Anti Aging
Using green tea extract, or EGCG, for anti aging is a no-brainer. However, if you want to look ten years younger fast, you’ll need more tools in your belt! That’s where we at Hawaii Blue Medical Aesthetics come in.
Hawaii Blue Medical Aesthetics is an award-winning Hampton Roads med spa, and we give people personalized, targeted results for aging skin. We specialize in Botox treatments, dermal fillers, and chemical peels. Want younger-looking skin? Book a free consultation today at our Newport News med spa!