Weight loss supplements are often used and abandoned frequently, given the fact that they may not always be effective. Green tea, long lauded as a natural means to promote weight loss, is among these supplements. However, Jae-Hyung Park et al's new study, published recently in Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, illustrates that the addition of propylene glycol will aid green tea's positive effects.

Propylene glycol is not as scary as it sounds. It is a compound used often as a preservative, to safely maintain coloring and viscosity in medicines, cosmetics and foods. When added to green tea the compound helps the body to use, instead of immediately absorb, the green tea extract (GTE) and its related antioxidants.

The quick absorption of GTE must be avoided; otherwise, the positive effects of green tea cannot be gained. Green tea is rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that helps with digestion of otherwise harmful substances. GTE is rich in gallated catechins (GC) a type of flavonoid that aids the reduction of sugars and fats in the body. GCs will stop absorption by binding to nutrients and blocking the path from the intestines to the bloodstream so that sugars and fats remain in the intestines. If sugars and fats are sequestered in the digestive system, the nutrients will be further digested instead of being allowed to wreak havoc on one's blood sugar or vasculature.

However, the GCs cannot do this alone. Propylene glycol, a preservative, helps to maintain tolerable GC levels so that the flavonoids can effectively block absorption. Jae-Hyung Park et al have found that without the addition of propylene glycol, GCs are quickly absorbed by the blood stream and become ineffective. Similarly, the amount of GTE that would need to be consumed without propylene glycol in order to get a level of GCs that would attenuate sugar and fats is considered toxic.

A daily dose of green tea with the addition of propylene glycol should be considered by those suffering from obesity and type II diabetes, as it can help to regulate blood sugar levels by simply preventing the absorption of excess sugars. However, because green tea is an herbal remedy whose active ingredient poses very little risk, those seeking to lose a few pounds by summer can also utilize it to achieve weight loss goals, as it also prevents the absorption of excess fats.