HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Could Coffee And Green Tea Protect Against DNA Damage?

According to a pan-European study, a daily cup of coffee might reduce the oxidative damage to DNA by 12 percent and a daily cup of green tea every day might protect against damage at a genetic levels, both because of antioxidant content according to researchers from the University of Vienna, Nestlé, and the University of Belgrade and the British Journal of Nutrition. Both stories are reported on

 A recent review by Mario Ferruzzi from Purdue University noted that coffee is one of the richest sources of polyphenols in the Western diet, with one cup of the stuff providing 350 milligrams of phenolics. Of these, the most abundant compounds coffee are chlorogenic acids, making up to 12 per cent of the green coffee bean. The most abundant of these compounds is caffeic acid.

The beverage, and its constituent ingredients, has come under increasing study with research linking it to reduced risk of diabetes, and improved liver health.

Coffee, one of the world's largest traded commodities produced in more than 60 countries and generating more than $70bn in retail sales a year, continues to spawn research and interest, and has been linked to reduced risks of certain diseases, especially of the liver and diabetes. 

“Overall, the results indicate that coffee consumption prevents endogenous formation of oxidative  DNA-damage in human, this observation may be causally related to beneficial health effects of coffee seen in earlier studies,” concluded the researchers.

At the start of this year, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that the cells of regular tea drinkers may have a younger biological age than cells from non-drinkers.

By looking at the length of telomeres, DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age, the Chinese researchers reported that the telomeres of people who drank an average of three cups of tea per day were about 4.6 kilobases longer than people who drank an average of a quarter of a cup a day.

 “The results indicate that green tea has significant genoprotective effects and provide evidence for green tea as a ‘functional food’,” wrote researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The study adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the potential benefits of green tea and the polyphenolic compounds it contains. Hundreds of studies report that the beverage may reduce the risk of certain cancers, aid weight management, and protection against Alzheimer's.

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