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Drinking Tea Affects Men And Women Differently

Update Date: Jun 10, 2017 08:59 AM EDT
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Researchers in recent years have discovered several health benefits to drinking tea, including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.

"There's a lot of literature out there on tea and heart health," said Anna Ardine, a clinical nutrition manager at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "This is a health effect for which there is the strongest evidence."

In fact, earlier this year, researchers found that individuals who consume one to three cups of green tea per day are nearly 20 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 35 percent less likely to experience a stroke.

Now, researchers at Uppsala University have found that tea consumption in women leads to epigenetic changes in genes that are known to interact with estrogen metabolism and cancer.

The term "epigenetics" is defined as "the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself."

In simpler terms, epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes on and off. These modifications essentially "read" genes, rather than change our DNA sequence.

In the study, published in Human Molecular Genetics, Uppsala University researchers collaborated with research groups in Europe to see if tea and coffee consumption would lead to epigenetic changes.

Results of the study showed that while consuming tea causes epigenetic changes in women, it doesn't do the same for men. These changes specifically interacted with how women's bodies process the female hormone estradiol and genes related to cancer.

The study did not find any epigenetic changes in participants drinking coffee.

"Previous studies have shown that tea consumption reduces estrogen levels which highlights a potential difference between the biological response to tea in men and women," study leader Weronica Ek, a researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, said. "Women also drink higher amounts of tea compared to men, which increases our power to find association in women."

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