Drinking tea is associated with lower plasma total homocysteine in older women
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Dietary polyphenols are suggested to elevate plasma total homocysteine concentration (tHcy). Although tea is rich in polyphenols, it has been associated with lower tHcy, which may be due to its folate content. Our aims were to investigate relationships of tea intake and 4-O-methylgallic acid (4OMGA) – a biomarker of exposure to tea-derived polyphenols – with tHcy in older women. In a cross-sectional study of 232 women over 70 years of age, we measured tHcy, tea intake, 24 h urinary excretion of 4OMGA, and red cell folate. Tea intake and 4OMGA excretion were inversely related to tHcy. Tea intake (>2 cups) and 4OMGA excretion above the median were associated with lower tHcy by ~1mmol/L (P <0.01). Red cell folate was not associated with tea intake or 4OMGA excretion. The observed lower tHcy in women with higher tea intake is consistent in direction and magnitude with previous epidemiological studies, but any mechanisms remain unclear.