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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1999 Apr;220(4):271-5.

Tea and health: the underlying mechanisms.

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American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


Detailed multidisciplinary research on the effect of tea and the associated tea polyphenols has led to major advances on the underlying mechanisms. In most studies, green and black tea have similar effects, four of which are reviewed in this paper. 1) Tea polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that may play a role in lowering the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, with a consequent decreased risk of heart disease, and also diminish the formation of oxidized metabolites of DNA, with an associated lower risk of specific types of cancer. 2) Tea and tea polyphenols selectively induce Phase I and Phase II metabolic enzymes that increase the formation and excretion of detoxified metabolites of carcinogens. 3) Tea lowers the rate of cell replication and thus the growth and development of neoplasms. 4) Tea modifies the intestinal microflora, reducing undesirable bacteria and increasing beneficial bacteria. The accumulated knowledge suggests that regular tea intake by humans might provide an approach to decrease the incidence of and mortality from major chronic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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