WHAT IS CATECHIN?
Catechin is one of the many flavan-3-ols that can be found in plant based foods and is part of the phytonutrient family (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health). In this article I will be discussing catechin in greater detail.
WHEN WAS CATECHIN DISCOVERED?
Catechin and the other flavan-3-ols were first discovered and isolated in 1929 at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Japan by Dr Michiyo Tsujimura.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE CATECHIN?
Catechin is a powerful antioxidant (a substance that protects your body’s cells from oxidative damage) that supports your body in many different ways. The list below highlights the main functions of catechin in the human body:
– Acting as an antihistamine (a substance that counters the effects of histamine and fights against allergies and inflammation).
– Acting as an antioxidant and protecting your body from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen related reactions).
– Preventing cancer (by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and reducing the number and size of tumours).
– Treating hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
– Treating mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (a condition which destroys your brain cells) and Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative brain disease which leads to a loss of mobility and speech).
Further studies have also suggested that catechin may have further health benefits than those listed above. However, more research needs to be completed before these health benefits can be confirmed. The list below outlines these potential catechin health benefits:
– Possibly preventing acquired immune deficiency syndrome (a disease also known as AIDS that slowly destroys the human immune system).
– Possibly reducing the brain damage caused by strokes (a study on mice found that consuming catechin significantly reduced the amount of brain damage caused by a stroke).
HOW MUCH CATECHIN DO YOU NEED?
Catechin is not considered essential for human health so no recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN CATECHIN?
Catechin is believed to be one of the main drivers behind the health benefits of dark chocolate, red wine and tea (both black and green). It can also be found in many different types of fruits and vegetables. The table below highlights some of the richest catechin food sources:
|FOOD||MILLIGRAMS (MG) OF CATECHIN PER 100 GRAMS (G)
|Black Diamond Plums||17.55|
|Golden Delicious Apples||3.6|
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH CATECHIN?
Currently there are no reported overdose symptoms associated with catechin consumption.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH CATECHIN?
Catechin is not classed as an essential nutrient so there are no reported deficiency symptoms.
Like many of the phytonutrients, catechin has a protective role in the body. Although very little research is available on this nutrient, the early signs are promising and suggest that catechin could have many more health benefits than those that we are currently aware of. The good news is that catechin can be found in chocolate and red wine which means you can treat yourself whilst also topping up on this important phytonutrient.
All About Green Tea (ITOEN)
Green Tea, White Tea: Catechin Health Benefits (Green Tea Lovers)
List of Phytochemicals in Food (Wikipedia)
What is Phytochemical? (Juicing For Health)
USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods