November 21, 2005
New research in animals suggests that tea may be a simple, inexpensive means of preventing diabetes and its ensuing complications, including cataracts. Researchers fed green and black tea to diabetic rats for three months and then monitored the chemical composition of the rats' blood and eye lenses.
At levels that would be equivalent to less than five cups of tea per day for a human, both teas significantly inhibited cataract formation relative to a control group which did not get tea, according to Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a chemist at the University of Scranton (Penn.) and lead author of the paper.
Another study on tea, done by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that the popular beverage may increase insulin activity.
Using black, green and oolong teas, the scientists found that tea increased insulin activity by about 15-fold in tests using fat cells obtain from rats.
The effect was primarily due to epigallocatechin gallate, an active compound found in tea, says study leader Richard A. Anderson, Ph.D., of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md.
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