Immune System Benefits of Drinking Tea

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by IngaDinga, Apr 22, 2003.

  1. IngaDinga

    IngaDinga New Member

    WASHINGTON (April 22) - An ordinary cup of tea may be a powerful infection fighter, a study suggests. Researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have found in tea a chemical that boosts the body's defense fivefold against disease.

    They said the chemical primes immune system cells to attack bacteria, viruses and fungi and could, perhaps, be turned into a disease-fighting drug someday.

    Dr. Jack F. Bukowski of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School said Monday that he and his co-authors isolated the chemical in the laboratory and then proved with a group of volunteers that it did protect against germs.

    ``We worked out the molecular aspects of this tea component in the test tube and then tested it on a small number of people to see if it actually worked in human beings,'' said Bukowski. The results, he said, gave clear proof that five cups of tea a day sharpened the body's defenses against disease.

    Penny Kris-Etherton, a nutrition specialist at Pennsylvania State University, said Bukowski's study adds to a growing body of evidence that tea is an effective disease fighter.

    ``This is potentially a very significant finding,'' she said. ``We're seeing multiple benefits from tea.''

    But she said the work needs to be confirmed in a much larger study, involving more people.

    In the study, Bukowski and his co-authors isolated from ordinary black tea a substance called L-theanine. He said the substance is found as well in green and oolong tea, which also are processed from traditional tea tree leaves.

    Bukowski said L-theanine is broken down in the liver to ethylamine, a molecule that primes the response of an immune blood cell called the gamma-delta T cell.

    ``We know from other studies that these gamma-delta T cells in the blood are the first line of defense against many types of bacteria, viral, fungal and parasitic infections,'' he said. ``They even have some anti-tumor activity.''

    The T cells prompt the secretion of interferon, a key part of the body's chemical defense against infection, Bukowski said.

    ``We know from mouse studies that if you boost this part of the immune system it can protect against infection,'' he said.

    To further test the finding, the researchers had 11 volunteers drink five cups a day of tea, and 10 others drink coffee. Before the test began, they drew blood samples from all 21 test subjects.

    After four weeks, they took more blood from the tea drinkers and then exposed that blood to the bacteria called E-coli. Bukowski said the immune cells in the specimens secreted five times more interferon than did blood cells from the same subjects before the weeks of tea drinking. Blood tests and bacteria challenges showed there was no change in the interferon levels of the coffee drinkers, he said.

    Bukowski said it may be possible to further isolate and refine L-theanine from tea and use that as a drug to boost the infection defense of the body.

    The health effects of tea have been extensively studied. It has been linked to lower heart disease and cancer risk through the action of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Other studies have linked tea to helping combat osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease, and to relieving some allergy symptoms.

  2. CelticLadee

    CelticLadee New Member

    How exciting. I love tea! Thanks for posting this article. You know I especially found it interesting because my naturopath gave me this product called 200 mg of Zen to try out. It has 550 mg. of GABA and 200 mg of L-Theanine in it. I had read about GABA and knew what benefits it gave but I had no idea what the L-Theanine really was or did until I read this article you posted. You see I recognized the name from my bottle of pills. This is awesome. I have felt so much better since I began taking it and just thought it was the GABA but I see from this article the L-Theanine is actually helping boost my immune system also. Over the years I have always noticed when I was sick I could not drink coffee but tea always made me feel better. I copied this article to my files as it is an excellent article. Thank you again. CLD
  3. PatPalmer

    PatPalmer New Member

    Great article Ingadinga, thank you.

    My parents their whole life have practically only drunk tea, it`s what props them up.

    I used to think after reading bad reports about caffein, what must it be doing to them?...
    Now they are into their eighties and very active, I know!

    My mother has a cholestrol problem and read that green tea is an active agent in fighting it, - be interesting to see the results...

    Love pat.

  4. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    I am a big tea drinker! Have been for over twenty years now. I gave up coffee and started drinking tea.

    Just be sure to keep it in the 'five cup' range if you have FM. I used to drink huge amounts hot and iced tea. I read somewhere that over five cups can intensify the FM pain. Sorry, I can't remember where I read this, but I did cut back to five cups a day.

    Thanks again.

    Shalom, Shirl
  5. Cara-Sue

    Cara-Sue New Member

    i love tea to.but i had no idea that you should put a limit on how much you drink.sure i can drink 5 cups just in the morning.i better cut would be great if it made a difference.thanks
  6. truthseeker67

    truthseeker67 New Member

    you may have converted me from daily coffee drinker to tea drinker instead. Of course, I still will have to have coffee every so often for I do crave it!

    Plus, summer is coming and I do enjoy iced tea as well!

  7. truthseeker67

    truthseeker67 New Member

  8. evileva

    evileva New Member

    I drink iced tea all day long! One thing I did however is switch from regular tea to decaffinated tea because it gave me the jitters if I drank too much. lol But now it works just fine. Thanks for the info.
  9. paulajo

    paulajo New Member

    Was there anything about drinking more water to counteract the tea. One of my friends just started a diet pill and she was told by the doctor to drink 3 glasses of water for every diet pop she drank. She didn't ask if it was just in order to lose weight or to moisturize the body that the caffein dried out?

  10. Solstice

    Solstice New Member

    Although I don't drink much of it, because I am so very sensitive to caffine. I LOVE to have a LATTE once in a blue moon, but I feel awful after it...........

    But thanks for this article..........I am going to try to increase the green tea, and see how I do. It doesn't have as much caffine as regular tea.

    As far as other teas I husband and I also drink Tension Tamer on days of stress......and it really does help.

    I like many herbal teas. Lemon is a favorite. So is raspberry.

    Cheers! I will think of you and thank you tomorrow as I am sipping my tea!

  11. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    I have heard about the health aspects of tea, but did not know that L-Theaine has so much to do with the reasoning behind it..Thanks so much for the information...
  12. averilpam

    averilpam New Member

    though these days I drink it decaf.
    If it helps your immune system - I dread to think how much worse mine would be if I hadn't!!

    Seriously, I don't know if it's just habit from drinking it since childhood, but sometimes there is really nothing else will do but a good old cuppa!
    I do love freshly brewed coffee though, with lots of cream.
  13. Lau

    Lau New Member

    I love tea, hot or iced, and have recently been drinking Arizona Rx-stress iced tea. It is caffine-free, has some green tea in it and B vitamins + other good stuff (duh!)

    I really feel it has helped with my energy levels somewhat, and I don't have to worry about the caffine. Give it a try.

    LOL, Laurie