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How black tea works to reduce heart disease

Posted date:
20th May '09
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A new study just out has identified that black tea could reduce heart disease.

Drinking black tea has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease in several studies. A number of these studies suggest that this benefit may be due to lowering of blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.  Raised levels of LDL cholesterol are linked with heart disease.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent nutritionist and member of the Tea Advisory Panel notes: “The mechanism behind the beneficial effect of black tea in lowering LDL cholesterol has not so far been reported. However, this new study suggests it is the theaflavins, ingredients formed in the production of black tea, which are responsible for this blood cholesterol lowering effect.

“So, how was this mechanism tested in the study? The researchers thought that the cholesterol lowering effect of black tea could be due to black tea reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood. Cholesterol is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract as part of particles called micelles. Micelles have to be formed for cholesterol to be absorbed.

“In summary, the researchers tested their idea that black tea might disrupt the formation of micelles. They mixed together an extract of black tea containing theaflavins together with micelles produced in the laboratory. And they found that their idea was right. The theaflavin containing black tea extract disrupted the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles.”

Dr Ruxton adds: “This study took place in a laboratory (called an in vitro study), and studies in human subjects are needed to confirm the results. However, the researchers say that their findings could explain why black tea is associated with reduced blood levels of LDL cholesterol and with a lower risk of heart disease.”

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. For further information please call 0207 7058989.

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Notes to editors:

For more information please contact:

Julia Riddle at Julia.riddle@nexuspr.com  or 020 7052 8855 / 07985472535

Nicky Smith at nicky.smith@nexuspr.com or 0207 808 9750 / 07867513361

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