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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Black Tea may help fight Type 2 Diabetes

Scientists in Scotland have unexpectedly discovered that black tea may help to combat type 2 diabetes. The discovery is at the laboratory stage and the research team is hoping to get funding to investigate further and replicate their findings in clinical settings.

The discovery is the work of Dr. Graham Rena and his team at the Neurosciences Institute of the University of Dundee, and is published in the journal Aging Cell.

Although green tea has for some time been regarded as a health giving food, not many have thought the same about black tea.

Rena and colleagues are researching compounds that have the potential to replace insulin in type 2 diabetes, the type of diabetes where the body's cells have become resistant to insulin, an essential regulator of blood sugar.

Working with fellow researchers from the Scottish Crop Research Institute, Rena and his team found that the black tea compounds theaflavins and thearubigins behaved like insulin.

Rena explained:

"What we have found is that these constituents can mimic insulin action on proteins known as FOXOs."

FOXOs (short for forkhead transcription factor family O) are known to regulate links between diet and health in many organisms, including mice, worms and fruit flies, said Rena. He said:

"The task now is to see whether we can translate these findings into something useful for human health."

Rena pointed out that the Dundee study is just the first step, and if they can find substances that restore the regulation of the FOXO proteins in people with type 2 diabetes, then these could be used to help them overcome some of the serious health problems that this diagnosis brings.

Rena warned that people should not rush out and start drinking lots of black tea in the hope that it will cure their diabetes. A lot more research is needed:

"We are still some way from this leading to new treatments or dietary advice. Our research into tea compounds is at a preclinical, experimental stage and people with diabetes should continue to take their medicines as directed by their doctor," said Rena.

But, he said there is definitely something worth exploring in these natural substances in black tea, and they may have health giving benefits, not just to people with diabetes, he added.

Rena is hoping to get further funding to enable his team to look more closely into how the tea compounds behave like insulin, and also to discover if the effects shown in the laboratory can be replicated in clinical settings.

Diabetes is the fastest growing epidemic in the world.

More than 350 million people worldwide will have the disease by 2030, according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

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1 comment:

Tony Woolfson said...

Great to read this. I am a UK specialist physician, and I really agree with you. You might be interested to read my own blog at www.diabetesdietdoctor.com/blog. Hope to see you there.

Tony Woolfson