advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Green Tea for Longer Life?

I heard that something in green tea could help people live longer. Is this true?

A
Answer (Published 10/22/2009)

It might be. You may be referring to findings from a study in Hong Kong suggesting that people who drink green tea regularly may be younger, biologically, than those who don't drink green tea or consume only small amounts. The science here is somewhat complex, so bear with me while I summarize this fascinating new study. The researchers looked at the length of telomeres, repeating DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes. (One expert suggests thinking about telomeres as the caps on the ends of shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling.) In cells, telomeres prevent chromosomes from fusing with one another or rearranging - undesirable changes that could lead to cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Research has shown that as cells replicate and age, telomeres get shorter and shorter and that when telomeres finally disappear, the cells can no longer replicate. Some experts have suggested that the length of telomeres may be a marker for biological aging. The shorter your telomeres, the "older" you are. Earlier studies have suggested that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress.

Now, for the Hong Kong study findings: researchers looked at telomere lengths of 976 Chinese men and 1,030 Chinese women, all over the age of 65. All the study participants completed a food frequency questionnaire.

The researchers reported that telomere length was associated only with tea drinking – participants with the highest intake, three cups per day of tea, had longer telomeres than participants who drank an average of only one quarter of a cup of tea daily. Most participants drank green tea while a few drank black tea. The investigators reported that the average difference in telomere length corresponded to "approximately a difference of five years of life" and that the "antioxidative properties of tea and its constituent nutrients may protect telomeres from oxidative damage in the normal aging process." The study was published online on August 12, 2009.

Incidentally, a recent U.S. study found that telomere length was longer in women who took multivitamins regularly. Here, researchers looked at multivitamin use in a group of 586 women between the ages of 35 and 74. They found that higher intakes of the antioxidant vitamins C and E from food were associated with longer telomere length. The findings were published in the June 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here