Azara Blog: Some chemicals in black tea allegedly mimic insulin action

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Date published: 2008/03/02

The BBC says:

Drinking black tea could help prevent diabetes, according to new findings by scientists at Dundee University.

The researchers said black tea may have the potential to combat type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

They believe certain constituents of tea could act as an insulin substitute.
The Dundee team, led by Dr Graham Rena, hopes to secure more funding to continue its investigation.

In collaboration with colleagues at the Scottish Crop Research Institute, the researchers discovered that several black tea constituents, known as theaflavins and thearubigins, mimicked insulin action.
Dr Rena stressed that further research was needed.

"People shouldn't be rushing to drink masses of black tea thinking it will cure them of diabetes," he said. "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."

After the hype of the first paragraph, we get the reality check near the bottom of the article. At least this health study did some real basic science, instead of looking at the correlation between tea drinking and diabetes. But "mimicking" insulin action is not a very precise statement, and it's likely a lot of work needs to be done before anything real (possibly) comes out of this research.

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