Tea And Blood Sugar


Most people have no ideas about the relationship between tea and blood sugar levels. Modern scientific research has shown that tea contains more than 500 compounds. Some organic compounds have great values in treatment and prevention of diseases such as main poly-phenols, caffeine from tea, tea polysaccharides, pigments, vitamins and amino acids. In addition, tea also contains 14 minerals which is also important to the health.


In China and Japan, there is a long history of tea treatment of diabetes. It is reported that in Japan people use 30-year-old or more than 100 years old tea to cure diabetes. Through clinical observation in some hospitals, the effective rate can reach as high as 70% and this indicates that tea has great hypoglycemic effect and they should be added into patients’ daily diets.

Many scientists did a lot of researches on the hypoglycemic effects from tea. In the 1980 of the 20th century, Japan nutritionists use cold water, warm water, boiling water to get of tea extracts and do experiments on the rats with high blood sugar levels. The results showed that tea extract from cold water can make the blood sugar drop by 40%. In the 1990s, scientists finally confirmed that the pharmacological constituents for treating diabetes in tea is polysaccharides.

Recently, more studies regarding the pharmacological effect of tea on lowering blood sugar have been done. Japan scientists reported that diabetic patients who have an intake of 200 ml drinks after meal containing 45 mg of tea polysaccharides can decrease their blood sugar levels significantly after 2 weeks. Also, their total cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels also drop to a great extent. After 4 weeks the situation of all patients had been improved. Scientists also found that coarse tea contain more raw materials and have a higher the hypoglycemic effect than normal tea.

Scientific results also show that tea polysaccharides have significant effects on diabetes prevention and treatments. Animal experiment found that tea polysaccharides can improve the body’s ability to resist oxidation and protect pancreatic β cells from free radicals. Moreover, it is found that liver glucokinase activity can be improved by tea polysaccharides. This just work like insulin which can improve glucose metabolism and reduce blood sugar.

Nutritionists also carried out a comparison on the content of polysaccharides, anti-oxidation and hypoglycemic effects from a variety of tea types including green tea, oolong tea, black tea etc. They found that the green tea has the highest level of polysaccharides content, followed by oolong tea and black tea; Tea having the strongest antioxidant effects is the oolong tea, followed by green tea and black tea. Animal experiments also suggest that in low, medium, and high doses, all kinds of tea have some hypoglycemic effects. Studies also found that the anti-oxidation and hypoglycemic effects are not the same on tea from different origin, varieties and processing technology.

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Image provided by Saad Akhtar (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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