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A cup of tea can help you fight diabetes

March 03, 2008 09:47 IST

Besides giving you a kick start in the morning, your favourite cup of tea has the potential to fight one of the world's biggest life-threatening diseases -- diabetes, claim researchers.

According to scientists at Dundee University, an ordinary tea might help in combating type 2 diabetes.

The finding is based on the discovery of black tea's ingredients that mimic the action of the hormone insulin, which is deficient in people with diabetes.

The research team said that the next step is to establish whether drinking more tea could help treat diabetes or even prevent it occurring in the first place.

Dr Graham Rena, an insulin researcher at the University of Dundee's Neurosciences Institute, believes the health benefits of so-called 'builders' tea' may actually surpass those of other drinks, including green tea, which many claim has cancer-fighting properties and can help with weight loss.

In type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced by the body in insufficient quantities or does not work properly.

Rena discovered that chemicals in black tea, known as theaflavins and thearubigins, mimic the action of insulin, which helps the body convert sugar to energy.  

'The prevailing view has been that green tea is the thing we must have for health benefits. But what we have found is that the substances that mimic insulin action are in black tea. It would be interesting to know what level of tea consumption, if any, can elicit similar effects to those that we have seen in our lab-based studies,' The Scotsman quoted Rena, as saying.

Rena said another option could be to create a pill from purified tea ingredients.

'We would like to see these effects in human trials, and I am trying to get other researchers interested. We are hoping this can be made into a treatment,' he added.

The study is published in the scientific journal Aging Cell.

Source: ANI