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J Nutr. 2008 Aug;138(8):1584S-1588S.

Tea consumption may improve biomarkers of insulin sensitivity and risk factors for diabetes.

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Food Components and Health Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


Diabetes mellitus and its sequelae are a major and growing public health problem. The prevalence of diabetes worldwide is 194 million persons, or 5.1% of the population, and is projected to increase to 333 million, or 6.3% of the population, by 2025. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90-95% of those with diabetes in the United States and other developed countries. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Tea contains polyphenols and other components that may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some evidence also shows that tea may affect glucose metabolism and insulin signaling, which, as a result, has spurred interest in the health effects of tea consumption on diabetes. Epidemiologic studies suggest some relation between tea consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, although the mechanisms for these observations are uncertain. Findings from in vitro and animal models suggest that tea and its components may influence glucose metabolism and diabetes through several mechanisms, such as enhancing insulin sensitivity. Some human clinical studies evaluating tea and its components show improvement in glucoregulatory control and endothelial function. However, further controlled clinical trials are required to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of tea consumption in persons with diabetes.

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