Osaka team finds black tea substance effective for bone loss treatment


A team of Japanese researchers said they have found that theaflavin-3, or TF-3, a substance in black tea, is effective for treating osteoporosis.

The team, including Keizo Nishikawa, assistant professor at Osaka University, unveiled this in the online edition of U.S. journal Nature Medicine on Tuesday.

The group discovered that DNA methyltransferase, a type of enzyme, increases osteoclast, a cell that destroys bone tissues, and that TF-3 works to block the function of the enzyme.

After TF-3 was administered to mice suffering from osteoporosis, their bone volume recovered to levels similar to those of normal mice, the team said.

If the experimental conditions are applied to humans, however, a person weighing 60 kg would need to drink 60 cups of black tea every three days.

While showing hopes for the development of teas or supplement foods containing a large amount of TF-3, Nishikawa said that products using TF-3 may have very bitter taste because it is a type of catechin, a bittering agent.