Tsung O. Cheng, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Cheng T.; Green Tea, Coffee, and Diabetes. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:633-634. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-8-200610170-00016
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(8):633-634.
TO THE EDITOR:
Iso and colleagues (1) reported an inverse relation between consumption of green tea (not black tea) and risk for diabetes, attributing it to caffeine. However, the importance of other constituents in the green tea should not be underestimated (2).
For ages, plants containing flavonoids have been used to treat diabetes in Indian medicine (3). The green tea flavonoid has been shown to have insulin-like activity (3) as well as insulin-enhancing activity (4). However, epigallocatechin gallate, which is the principal catechin in green tea, differs from insulin because it affects several insulin-activated kinases with slower kinetics (3). Furthermore, epigallocatechin regulates genes that encode gluconeogenic enzymes and protein–tyrosine phosphorylation by modulating the redox state of the cell (3). Thus, epigallocatechin gallate may be an antidiabetic agent.
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