What We’re Reading: Diabetes and Tea

After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world, and it has been linked to a variety of health benefits. Studies in the past have shown that black and green tea may help lower blood glucose levels, and a recent experiment may help explain why.

As described at About.com: Diabetes, substances in black tea called theaflavins have been shown to mimic the effects of insulin in certain cells. The study, published in the February 2008 issue of the journal Aging Cell, did not test humans or any other animal, just individual cells. The researchers noted that it is unclear how much of the theaflavins from tea that people drink actually make it to the body’s cells, which could be a good topic for future research.

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Interestingly, a substance found in green tea that is similar to black tea’s theaflavins was found to have a less-certain effect on cells than its black tea counterparts had.

The summary of a more direct study on tea and blood glucose levels can be found at WebMD. In this three-year-old study, both black and green tea reduced the blood glucose levels in rats with diabetes. Both also slowed the development of cataracts, and green tea helped reduce blood triglyceride levels.

This blog entry was written by Editorial Assistant Quinn Phillips.

  • Philbur

    At 210 pounds, I would need approx. 56 oz. to equal the amount used in the study. That’s 4 16 oz. bottles of tea/day to lower glucose and triglycerides. Not a big deal as I could do that. What is the amount/percentage lowered of said glucose or triglycerides? Is it a significant amount of each, or not enough to be statistically significant? A little more explanation or analysis of the results either here or at WebMD would be helpful.