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Originally published January 15 2009

Insulin Mimickers in Black Tea Could Help Prevent Diabetes

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Natural chemicals contained in black tea might mimic insulin's effects in the body and help protect against diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from Dundee University and the Scottish Crop Research Institute, and published in the journal Aging Cell.

"There is definitely something interesting in the way these naturally occurring components of black tea may have a beneficial effect, both in terms of diabetes and our wider health," said lead researcher Graham Rena.

Scientists discovered that a variety of compounds that are found in black tea have the same effect on proteins known as "foxos" that insulin does.

"Foxos have previously been shown to underlie associations between diet and health in a wide variety of organisms including mice, worms and fruit flies," Rena said. "The task now is to see whether we can translate these findings into something useful for human health."

While much research has been conducted recently into the health benefits of green tea, black tea has received less attention.

"In some studies, black tea consumption has been associated with a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer, but the mechanisms are far from clear," the researchers wrote. "With the exception of water, tea is the most popular drink globally, but despite this, little is known about the biological availability of black tea polyphenols in vivo or the molecular target(s) mediating the effects."

More than 20 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the World Health Organization estimates that more than 350 million worldwide will have the disease by 2030.

But Rena warned that the preliminary research from the current study should not lead people to stop taking diabetes medicine and drink black tea instead.

"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."

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