Tea Scapes’ Blog

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Black Tea and Aging Diseases

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Recently, a 2008 study conducted at the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore reported that drinking at least 23 cups of black tea a month may slash the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 71%!

In the study, a staggering number of 63,257 men and women in Singapore were surveyed about their black tea drinking habits when entering the study – over the course of the study, diet and caffeine were ruled out as having no impact on the results. Overall, researchers reported that compounds in black tea other than caffeine appear to be responsible for the beverage’s inverse association with Parkinson’s disease.

A recent study at the University of Newcastle found that green and black tea both inhibit the activity of certain enzymes in the brain which are associated with memory – actually, their findings may lead to the development of a new treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Overall, the scientific researchers investigated the properties of coffee, green tea, and black tea in a series of chemical experiments. After numerous trials, they found that both green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease – however, coffee had no significant effect.

Intriguingly, both green and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger) acetylcholine – interestingly, Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine. Therefore, by inhibiting AChE, compounds in green and black tea may in turn increase acetylcholine levels; this could be extremely helpful for Alzheimer’s patients.

Furthermore, green tea and black tea also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits (known as ‘senile plaques’) found inside the neurons of patients with Alzheimer’s.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is possible to slow the development of the disease – in fact, there are drugs currently on the market which hinder the activity of AChE, and others are being developed to inhibit the activity of BuChE.

However, many of the drugs currently available, such as donepezil, have unpleasant side effects and the medical community is keen to find alternatives – in fact, researchers at the University of Newcastle hope to formulate a specialized medicinal blend of green and black tea for Alzheimer’s patients!

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