Study finds epigenetic changes in women consuming tea

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Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on. In a new study from Uppsala University, researchers show that tea consumption in women leads to epigenetic changes in genes that are known to interact with cancer and estrogen metabolism. The results are published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

It is well known that our environment and lifestyle factors, such as food choices, smoking, and exposure to chemicals, can lead to epigenetic changes. In the current study, researchers from Uppsala University in collaboration with research groups around Europe investigated if coffee and tea consumption may lead to epigenetic changes. Previous studies have suggested that both coffee and tea play an important role in modulating disease risk in humans by suppressing tumor progression, decreasing inflammation and influencing estrogen metabolism, mechanisms that may be mediated by epigenetic changes.

The results show that there are epigenetic changes in women consuming tea, but not in men. Interestingly, many of these epigenetic changes were found in genes involved in cancer and estrogen metabolism. "Previous studies have shown that tea consumption reduces estrogen levels which highlights a potential difference between the biological response to tea in men and women. Women also drink higher amounts of tea compared to men, which increases our power to find association in women", says Weronica Ek, researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics, and Pathology, who led the study. The study did not find any epigenetic changes in individuals drinking coffee.

Results from this study highlight the role of pharmacologically active components in tea being involved in cancer and estrogen metabolism, which can reflect that health effects related to tea consumption might be due to epigenetic changes. However, this study does not show if it is healthy or not to drink tea and further research is needed to understand how epigenetic changes found in this study affects our health. It has previously been demonstrated that tea catechins lead to epigenetic changes in vitro and in cultured cancer cells, arguing that some of the health effects of tea may be mediated by epigenetics.

What is epigenetics? - Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna


  1. Karen Skladanowski Karen Skladanowski United States says:

    I've read this article several times, and am still unclear as to weather women consuming tea is good or bad for them.

    • Corolla Sedan Corolla Sedan Australia says:

      Karen so long you don't drink green tea or green coffee you are OK.These green product are fungal and fungus is not only cancer also all this fancy diagnostic names diseases.Yes black tea is fermented but it is not as fungal like green tea or coffee.Candida is a mother of all this health problems in humans.Fungus kills plants animal and humans.If you do not eat or drink you still inhale fungus which is in waiting in every cell of our body to be enriched with fungal foods or environment.You can't kill or cure candida only control it for life,to avoid early trip to haven.Dried herbs are all fungal so is all food which is prepared to last.Do some research on milk and its products it is eye opener.

  2. marion sullivan marion sullivan United States says:

    There are many many teas available.  It would be helpful to know the kind of tea used in this study.

  3. Joan Norris Brigham Joan Norris Brigham United States says:

    It is truly underwhelming what this article says.

  4. Diana McCandless Diana McCandless United States says:

    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect any views at all.  Wink

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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