The active compounds in green tea can aid in this process by boosting the effects of some fat burning hormones.
The main antioxidant in tea, EGCG, can help inhibit an enzyme that breaks down the hormone norepinephrine (5).
When this enzyme is inhibited, the amount of norepinephrine increases (6).
This hormone is used by the nervous system as a signal to the fat cells, telling them to break down fat. Therefore, more norepinephrine leads to a stronger signal being sent to the fat cell and more fat gets broken down.
Caffeine and EGCG (both found naturally in green tea) may actually have a synergistic effect, because caffeine enhances another step in the same pathway (7).
The end result is that the fat cell breaks down more fat, which is released into the bloodstream and becomes available for use as energy by cells that need it, like muscle cells.
Bottom Line: The substances in green tea increase levels of hormones that tell fat cells to break down fat. This releases fat into the bloodstream and makes it available as energy.
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