Heart DiseaseStrokeTea

Focusing on how black tea might protect from heart disease and stroke

The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter tells us, “There’s some evidence that tea drinking is associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. But it’s too soon to recommend tea as a way to prevent heart attacks.”

OK, but researchers from the UK have identified 2 possible protective mechanisms. The results are interesting because they go beyond simply stating that tea has “antioxidant” effects.

First, the details.

  • 75 healthy non-smoking adult men were randomly assigned to black tea or placebo.
  • Bloods samples were drawn after 6 weeks of treatment.

And, the results.

  • Tea consumption reduced platelet activation and plasma C-reactive protein (a byproduct of inflammation).
  • There were no differences in total antioxidant status or soluble P-Selectin, which mediates adhesion of white blood cells to activated platelets and endothelial cells on the walls of blood vessels.

The bottom line?
Based on these findings, it appears that the initial events in forming blood clots (inflammation and platelets becoming sticky and clumping together) are less likely to occur in people who drink black tea.

Again, the Wellness Letter probably has the best advice. “While tea may have health benefits, it clearly is no panacea? Think of it as a back-up to a healthy diet and an adjunct to regular exercise and other good health habits — not as a miraculous potion that will keep you well by itself.”

7/23/07 15:57 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.