Study Led by FSU Professor Explores Black Tea Compounds for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Study Led by FSU Professor Explores Black Tea Compounds for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Jul 14, 2015

A preliminary study led by Framingham State Food Science Professor Emmanouil Apostolidis shows that black tea water extract and black tea pomace could have potential applications in type 2 diabetes prevention. 

Dr. Apostolidis cautions that the study, while encouraging, is just one step in a long process toward the development of a dietary supplement that could help control glucose levels in the blood. He says recent media reports that have used the results of his study to claim that drinking black tea can prevent diabetes are misleading.

“Nowhere in our study do we claim that drinking black tea can help prevent diabetes,” he says. “What our research is trying to determine is which constituents of black tea inhibit the enzymes that break down carbohydrates and release glucose so that down the road we can develop a product that has a high concentration of this health beneficial ingredient.”

He likened their efforts to the development of fish oil, which is a health supplement that isolates the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in fish.

One of the important findings of the study, according to Dr. Apostolidis, was that the tea pomace, which is the leaves that remain in the bag after you extract the tea, also demonstrated potential to be utilized for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. That means there is potential use for a waste product in the development of a supplement down the road.

“That is the most important finding in this study,” he says.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 382 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2013 and the number is projected to increase to 592 million people by 2035. Type 2 diabetes is the primary cause of this dramatic increase.

This research was performed by FSU graduate students Lisa Striegel and Bouhee Kang. “If not for their work, this study would not have been published,” Apostolidis says. The study was also completed in collaboration with FSU Chemistry and Food Science Professor Sarah Pilkenton and Dr. Michael Rychlik, the Chair of Analytical Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin in Germany.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.