Dr Graham Rena, of the university's Neurosciences Institute, said his team's research into tea compounds is at a pre-clinical, experimental stage, but added: "There is definitely something interesting in the way these naturally occurring components of black tea may have a beneficial effect, both in terms of diabetes and our wider health."
People with diabetes should continue to take their medicines as directed by their doctor, Dr Rena said.
He added: "This is something that needs further research and people shouldn't be rushing to drink masses of black tea, thinking it will cure them of diabetes – we are still some way from this leading to new treatments or dietary advice."
They have discovered that several black tea constituents, known as theaflavins and thearubigins, mimic insulin action.
"What we have found is that these constituents can mimic insulin action on proteins known as FOXOs," said Dr Rena. "FOXOs have previously been shown to underlie associations between diet and health in a wide variety of organisms including mice, worms and fruit flies. The task now is to see whether we can translate these findings into something useful for human health."
Source: The Scotsman Digital Archive
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