Study: Drinking tea appears to stem decline

Study: Drinking tea appears to stem decline by Dr Lenore Arab PHD of UCLA Cardiovascular Health Study

Effect may be related to some component in the beverage other than caffeine.

PR Newswire

HONOLULU - Results of a new study found people age 65 or older who drank tea regularly had between 17 percent and 37 percent less cognitive decline than people who did not drink tea.

The new findings were presented here at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease 2010.

The population-based study followed more than 4,800 Americans ages 65 and over for up to 14 years, examining the relationship between consumption of tea or coffee and change in cognitive function over time.

Tea and coffee consumption were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, and cognitive performance was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination. Results showed that cognitive decline was statistically significantly lower among regular tea drinkers, even after adjusting for confounding factors that may affect cognitive function, such as age, education, tobacco use and medical history.

In this study, 25 percent of people reported that they drank tea daily; 43 percent said they drank coffee.

When compared with non-tea drinkers, the average annual cognitive decline among four groups of tea drinkers dropped:

17 percent among people drinking it five to 10 times per year.

32 percent, for one to three times per month.

37 percent, for one to four times per week.

And 26 percent among people who drank tea five or more times each week.

On the other hand, drinking coffee regularly showed no effect on cognitive decline, except at the very highest level of consumption which was associated with a decreased decline of 20 percent.

"This study suggests a potential neuroprotective effect of tea consumption against cognitive decline," said research team leader Dr. Lenore Arab, a professor in the departments of medicine and biological chemistry UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.

"This neuroprotective effect of tea is unlikely related to caffeine since coffee, which has two to three times more caffeine than tea, did not have the same effect. The effect may be related to some other component in tea, such as flavonoids or perhaps theanine, however more research is required before a link can be confirmed."

The research was supported by the Lipton Institute of Tea and conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, in collaboration with the University of Washington. The Lipton Institute of Tea aims to support research that examines the mental and physical health effects of tea consumption, including hydration, heart health and cognitive performance.

"In recent years, a body of scientific evidence has shown that regular tea drinking may have an important role in health and wellness," said Douglas Balentine of the Lipton Institute of Tea and director of nutrition sciences for Unilever North America.

"This new study provides further support that regular tea drinking may be an important actionable change a consumer can make as part of a healthy lifestyle," he said.

 

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