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Old 02-22-2008, 09:41 AM
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Default Black Tea May Protect Against Parkinson's Disease

22/02/2008- Drinking at least 23 cups of black tea a month, or about three-quarters of a cup a day, may slash the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by a whopping 71 per cent, suggests new research from Singapore.

The benefits of the beverage were not linked to the caffeine content, suggest the results of the study of 63,257 Chinese men and women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative condition affecting movement and balance in more than one million Americans each year, a figure expected to rise due to ageing populations.

Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent. Oolong tea is semi-fermented tea and is somewhere between green and black tea.

The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC).

Despite results from previous studies reporting that green tea may reduce the risk of Parkinson's, the new study, reported no benefits among participants of the Singapore Chinese Health Study.

Lead author Louis Tan from Singapore's National Neuroscience Institute states that data was collected through in-person interviews using structured questionnaires.

Over the course of the study, 57 incident cases of Parkinson's disease were documented, and while caffeine was associated with a protective effect, reducing disease risk by 45 per cent, the benefits of black tea were not affected by caffeine content, wrote Tan and co-authors.

"Black tea, a caffeine-containing beverage, showed an inverse association with Parkinson's disease risk that was not confounded by total caffeine intake or tobacco smoking," wrote the authors.

"Ingredients of black tea other than caffeine appear to be responsible for the beverage's inverse association with Parkinson's disease," they concluded.
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