Dr. Olivia Phung, assistant professor in Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Pharmacy in Pomona, Calif., along with other researchers, found that drinking green tea daily or by taking it in capsule form may reduce LDL, or “”bad”” cholesterol, by 5.3 points and total cholesterol by 5.5 points.

The findings, based on 20 randomized trials her team pooled together totaling more than 1,400 adults, were published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Phung, the senior researcher, began the study while she was a Research Fellow at the University of Connecticut and Hartford Hospital, and finished it at WesternU, where she’s been since June 2010.

Phung says she was inspired by TV commercials that proclaimed green tea, and in particular green tea catechins (GTCs), is good for you.

“”I wanted to play sleuth a little bit,”” she said. “”Part of me as a scientist says, what’s the evidence behind that? One of the main reasons to do a systematic review meta-analysis is to solve debates where one study may say it’s not working and one study says it works, and really summarize the totality of the evidence.””

How green tea affected cholesterol was part two of a study on green tea. Part one, published in January 2010, addressed how green tea reduced body weight.

The green tea cholesterol study combined patients with borderline to high cholesterol who were not taking medications. The studies compared green tea to water, placebo tablets or placebo drinks. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured.

Phung thought the findings were “”not bad,”” but said medications would do a lot more, and that tea is not a substitute for medication.

Phung is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice and administration. She graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy from Northeastern University in Boston in 2008.

She teaches evidence-based clinical practice, which is how to ask the right questions, acquire the right evidence and appraise whatever evidence is found, which are skills she learned during her fellowship.

She also continues to participate in research and practices at WesternU’s Western Diabetes Institute (WDI) with the integrated practice unit (IPU).