Tea has long been consuming in many parts of the world. Indeed, it is one of the most popular beverages, only after water.
Some studies have suggested that green tea can help prevent the formation of cancer cells, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduce high blood pressure.
Nevertheless, it is still unknown which molecular mechanism is responsible for controlling blood pressure.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of California, Irvine have identified that tea contains antioxidants that can open ion channels and relax muscles lining blood vessels.
The study is published in the Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry journal.
The findings may help with the production of more effective antihypertensive medications, which would benefit many people with heart disease.
Scientists find out that tea contains two antioxidants called catechins. They are able to open a channel in the muscle cells, which enables positive potassium ions to leave.
In this study, the authors used mutate forms and computer modeling of the channel protein to indicate that both catechins bind to a portion sensing voltage changes.
This allows an earlier and more easily opening of the channel in the process of cellular excitation.
In theory, the finding suggests that the muscles will be more likely to relax, which dilates the blood vessel and lowers blood pressure.
Also, the scientists claim that adding milk to tea does not affect these antihypertensive effects.
When applied directly to the targeted cells, milky tea did not activate the channels.
The temperature of the tea does not matter as well. No matter whether you consume the drink hot or iced, the antihypertensive properties are still activated.
The channel exists in the membranes of nerves as well. It plays a key role in controlling signal transmission and electrical activity.
In those with epileptic encephalopathy, a form of the channel does not react effectively to any voltage changes. This subsequently results in regular seizures.
The scientists of the study find out that catechins in tea may exceed the blood-brain barrier. This helps prevent bigger molecules, even a few medications, from penetrating the brain.
Thus, medications based on catechin molecules, in theory, may help treat the underlying trigger of epileptic encephalopathy.
The findings of the ability of catechins to activate the channel protein would suggest a mechanism to fix defected channels in the future. This can improve any conditions related to brain excitability and caused by the dysfunction.