Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Polyphenols in tea might aid intestinal health

Tea polyphenols - antioxidants or prebiotics? NutraIngredients 12/20/06 "“Our data demonstrate that phenolic compounds have general inhibitory effects on intestinal bacteria. The level of inhibition varies depending on the bacterial species and chemical structure of the compound,”...lead author Hui Cheng Lee...growth of the pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium were most strongly inhibited by the tea polyphenols and their metabolites, as were strains belonging to the Bacteroides and Clostridium genera. However, the researchers report that the growth of the probiotic Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains were less affected by the tea compounds...“Since probiotic growth was relatively unaffected by most of the aromatic compounds tested, probiotic colonization in the intestine should continue in the presence of phenolics so as to improve the intestinal microbial balance and inhibit pathogen growth,”"

Curious that lead researcher Lee calls into question the antioxidant benefits of tea. It isn't clear why he holds this view. It seems, on the surface that the benefits of tea could be both from its antioxidants and from its prebiotic role. Hopefully in other interviews he'll clarify this point.

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