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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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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