08 July, 2011
Green Tea Extract & Pregnancy
Like most dietary supplements, there is little research about the use of green tea extract during pregnancy or its effects on fertility. Liquid green tea extract is made from green tea leaves or leaf buds, and it can also be found in a powder or capsule form. The extract can be taken as packaged or made into a tea.
Green Tea Benefits
Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which attack free radicals that can cause cell damage. It also lowers cholesterol and helps to control blood sugar. According to the American Cancer Society, herbalists use the extract to relieve stomach problems and diarrhea. Green tea can also help to prevent some forms of cancer.
Green Tea Jolt
One cup of green tea, prepared from extract or leaves, contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine. Your daily limit of caffeine should not exceed 300 milligrams in a day, according to thr Babycenter website. Other forms of green tea extract, such as capsules and powder, contain varying amounts of caffeine. In addition to causing fertility problems, too much caffeine can cross into the placenta of a pregnant woman and cause a miscarriage or birth defects.
According to reproductive endocrinologist Helen Kim, some studies suggest that green tea can improve fertility. However, she also states that there is not enough conclusive evidence to be sure. Too much green tea extract can cause fertility problems because of its levels of caffeine and tannic acid.
Green Tea Extract Warnings
Due to the caffeine in green tea extract and the potential side effects, it is not always safe to take during pregnancy. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that pregnant women avoid it altogether to be safe. If you are trying to get pregnant, you should also avoid green tea extract due to the lack of evidence regarding its safety. Avoid taking green tea extract on an empty stomach, which may contribute to liver toxicity due to its high levels of epigallocatechin gallate, warns the Drugs.com website.
The Story on Dietary Supplements
Unlke drugs, the U.S Food and Drug Administration does not review or approve dietary supplements before they hit the market. Dietary supplements can have potent effects on your body, however, and may interact with medications, producing dangerous side effects. Talk to your doctor before taking dietary supplements, especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
- luamduan/iStock/Getty Images