Everything you were afraid to ask about catechins, you can ask one man. After decades of extensive catechin research, Dr. Yukihiko Hara of Japan is that man. As one of the world’s leading experts on the medical benefits of green tea catechins, Dr. Hara is the source for answers to your questions about the health and well-being benefits of regular green tea consumption.  It was my total delight to meet Dr. Hara and his wife in person during my visit to Japan in late 2011.

When I asked Dr. Hara, the president of Tea Solutions, what he would like North American tea-drinking people to know, he replied:

“After a 30-year study of catechins in green tea, we are coming to prove the efficacy of them on humans by interventional clinical studies. Anti-metabolics, bowel modulation, cancer prevention or possible cancer therapy are among those efficacies. We have to make use of the health benefits of tea catechins in various forms of intake, not only in the form of beverages, but in other forms such as capsules, tablets, or added ingredients in other foodstuffs. Along with catechin study, the exploration of theaflavins or thearubigins, the precious components in black tea or in so-called “fermented teas,” is going to be expanded in the coming years. Thus, we will be able to make the most of the health benefits of various kinds of teas, as well as just enjoying their characteristics and beautiful flavors.”

Since we are faced with an “obesity crisis” in this part of the world, I chose this excerpt from an interview done with Dr. Hara in 2006:

“Tea catechins are also known to reduce belly fat in humans if a good amount of green tea is drunk every day for months. This is assumed to be caused primarily by inhibiting the absorption of lipids in the intestine when tea catechins co-exist in the gut and in the liver by accelerating the catabolism of fat and inhibiting the reformation of triglycerides in the liver.”

So there you have it!

For those of you who are looking for extensive research on catechins, check out Dr. Hara’s books, which are available here in North America on Amazon as well as on other sites if you search for his name. If you would like a copy of the article and interview excerpted above, please leave a comment below that includes your email address and I will be sure to send you the download. It is very interesting and enlightening, even though it is a few years old. You can also find Dr. Hara on Facebook, where I am sure he would be happy to “friend” you.

I have heard (from undisclosed sources in Japan) that Dr. Hara is referred to as “The Father of Catechins.” For the serious tea person, I would highly recommend his book, Green Tea: Health Benefits and Applications. In addition to being the president of Tea Solutions, Dr. Hara is Director of the Shizuoka Industrial Innovation Foundation for the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Regional Program (2009-2013) and a visiting professor at Shizuoka University, University of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Keep sipping and keep those catechins coming!