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What is Theaflavin?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Theaflavin is a chemical made up of antioxidant polyphenols. Commonly found in black tea, the plant-produced chemical has been clinically proven to prevent the accumulation of free radicals in the body. As a result, theaflavin is a popular compound in cancer research, as well as in other disease studies and treatments.

When green tea is fermented to become black tea, three different theaflavins are created. Called theaflavin-3-gallate, theaflavin-3’-gallate and theaflavin-3,3’-digallate, they can also be found in oolong tea. The presence of these antioxidants alters both the hue as well as the flavor of the tea.

One reason why many proponents of homeopathic medicine promote tea drinking is because of the presence of theaflavins in the tea. Theaflavins have been useful in slowing the growth of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, cells, which could help scientists discover a cure for the disease. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of theaflavin may help lower one's levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol.

People who regularly drank theaflavins for 90 days in one study were able to lower their cholesterol by nearly 12 percent. Levels of LDL cholesterol specifically were reduced by 16 percent. Participants in the study were also able to raise their levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol that the body needs, slightly.

Cardiovascular health and the immune system can both be improved by regularly consuming theaflavins. Able to bypass the blood brain barrier, the chemical can also help ward off dementia. The disease known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, is said to be prevented by the antioxidant.

Several other health benefits may result from the tea antioxidants. An antiviral agent, theaflavin may help lower blood sugar levels. One study shows that it may help enhance the functions of the liver, as well as reduce the amount of lipids and body weight of an organism. Most of these possible benefits remain under review by the scientific community. Many physicians also point out that black tea consumed in conjunction with a low-fat diet yields the most health benefits.

For people who do not wish to consume tea, theaflavin is available in supplement form. To get the benefits of the antioxidants, one capsule is usually enough for a full day's supply. To drink the benefits of theaflavins, five cups of black tea are generally recommended daily. While this remedy is considered safe for most people, women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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