Oolong Tea Combats Obesity from High-Fat Diets

Frontiers in Nutrition journal logo

Can sipping a cup of oolong tea help avert weight gain? Yes, according to a new study in Frontiers in Nutrition.

Oolong tea (OT), partially fermented from Camellia sinensis leaves, has been proven in multiple studies to offer numerous health benefits and preventive applications. But research on oolong tea’s role in obesity prevention is still limited.

For this study, researchers set out to investigate the modulatory effects of OT intervention on high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and gut microbiota dysbiosis using an obese mouse model.

Study Details

T results showed that 8-week OT supplementation with 93.94% polyphenols significantly decreased body weight gain, adipose tissue mass, and serum levels of triglyceride (2.60 mmol/L), cholesterol (5.49 mmol/L), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (0.61 mmol/L) in HFD-fed mice.

“Our results suggested OT supplementation could remarkably attenuate HFD-induced obesity-related traits including higher levels of adipose weight, blood glucose, and serum lipid profiles; damaged histological appearance; and glucose tolerance, which is consistent with the anti-obesity effects of other tea species (green tea and black tea,” said the study’s authors.

Meanwhile, OT intervention was observed to improve fat accumulation, hepatic damage, glucose intolerance, and endotoxemia, and alleviate inflammation by decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory factors. OT also upregulated the expression of genes including Srebf1, Ppara, Lxra, Pgc1a, and Hsl and downregulated the expression of genes including Leptin, Il-6, and Il-1b.

Additionally, the gut dysbiosis characterized by decreased flora diversity and increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in obese mice was recovered by OT intervention. Certain differentially abundant microbes caused by HFD feeding, including Enterococcus, Intestinimonas, Blautia, and Bilophila, were also improved by OT treatment. OT, as a novel resource of dietary polyphenols, exhibited a protective effect on HFD-induced obesity and gut microbiota disorder.


In this study, OT intervention ameliorated HFD-induced weight gain, dyslipidemia, impaired hepatic homeostasis, fat accumulation, endotoxemia, and glucose intolerance, thus contributing to the prevention and treatment of obesity and gut microbial dysbiosis. Furthermore, the suppressed expression of inflammatory factors, regulatory expression of catabolism genes including Srebf1, Pgc1a, Lxra, Hsl, Leptin, and Ppara; the modulatory effect of microbial diversity; and richness were responsible for the preventive mechanisms against obesity of OT. OT also altered the HFD-induced differential abundance of the certain core microbes including Enterococcus, Intestinimonas, Blautia, and Bilophila. Some phylotypes enriched in the HFD + OT group, including Odoribacter, Enterobacteriaceae, Anaerostipes, Megamonas, Mitsuokella, and Fusicatenibacter and negatively correlated with some obesity parameters might be the effective bacterial genera contributing to the preventive effect of OT on obesity. This discovery may offer a new nutrition strategy to relieve obesity-related diseases, suggesting OT has great potential to be used as a functional beverage against obesity and metabolic disorders.