Black tea helps prevent onset of Parkinson’s disease

February 23, 2008

Drinking at least 23 cups of black tea a month, or about three-quarters of a cup a day, may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 71 per cent, suggests new research from Singapore.

The benefits were not linked to the caffeine content, suggest the results of the study of 63,257 Chinese men and women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition affecting movement and balance in more than one million Americans each year, a figure expected to rise due to aging populations.

A key difference between black tea and green tea lies in the types and amounts of flavonoids. Green teas contain more of the simple flavonoids called catechins. But when black tea is made, the catechins undergo oxidation resulting in the generation of more complex varieties, called thearubigins and theaflavins.

“The underlying mechanisms for this protective effect of black tea on Parkinson’s disease remains unclear until further research is done. But drinking even one cup of black tea per day could help to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology
“Differential Effects of Black versus Green Tea on Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in the Singapore Chinese Health Study”
Authors: Louis C. Tan, W.-P. Koh, J.-M. Yuan, R. Wang, W.-L. Au, J.H. Tan, E.-K. Tan, M.C. Yu
http://www.michaeljfox.org/newsEvents_parkinsonsInTheNews_article.cfm?ID=290

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