Cup of Tea could guard against Alzheimer's

by Irish Independent-26 October 2004-Terry Kirby in London

The humble cup of tea could be one of the most popular medicines ever prescribed. New research shows the drink forms a potent weapon in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease.

Tea is already thought to protect the body against both heart disease and cancers, but research published 25th October 2004 shows that black and green tea both inhibit the activity of key enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s,the form of dementia that affects about 10m people worldwide.

Scientists at Newcastle University's Medical Plant Research Centre found that both teas inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetyl cholinesterase(AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger, or neuro-transmitter, acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine.

Both teas, they found, also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyryl-cholinesterase(BuChE) which has been discovered in protein deposits found on the brain of patients with Alzheimer's.

Green tea went one step further in that it obstructed the activity of beta-secretase, which plays a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer's Disease.