January 19, 2023

Is drinking tea good for your gut?

Microbiome profiling of older Chinese adults showed that tea drinking changed the diversity and abundance of some bacteria in men but not women — effects that may contribute to a reduced risk of hypertension.

Tea drinking is acclaimed for its health benefits, including preventing obesity and some metabolic diseases, which may be due partly to the beneficial effects of tea compounds on microbiota, the range and diversity of bacteria in the gut. 

Lei Wang, MPhil, Danxia Yu, PhD, and colleagues utilized the Shanghai Women’s and Men’s Health Studies to conduct a large-scale, population-based cohort study that evaluated the impact of habitual tea drinking on the gut microbiome in older Chinese adults. Detailed methods and results were reported recently in The Journal of Nutrition 

Microbiome profiling of more than 2,000 individuals revealed that tea drinking, especially drinking green tea or drinking more than three cups of tea a day, may affect gut microbiome beta-diversity and the abundance of some bacteria, such as Coprococcus catus. 

These associations, which were observed in men but not women, may contribute to a reduced risk of hypertension in Chinese men. Further study is needed to examine the potential sex-specific effects of drinking tea.

The paper’s co-authors were Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH, Hui Cai, MD, PhD, Yaohua Yang, PhD, Wanghong Xu, MD, PhD, Jie Wu, MD, MPH, Qiuyin Cai, MD, PhD, and Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, MPH.  

The research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants CA173640, CA182910, DK126721 and HL149779.