Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on. In a new study from Uppsala University, researchers show that tea consumption in women leads to epigenetic changes in genes that are known to interact with cancer and estrogen metabolism. The results were published online on May 23, 2017 in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. The article is titled “Tea and Coffee Consumption in Relation to DNA Methylation in Four European Cohorts.” It is well known that our environment and lifestyle factors, such as food choices, smoking, and exposure to chemicals, can lead to epigenetic changes. In the current study, researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, in collaboration with research groups around Europe, investigated if coffee and tea consumption may lead to epigenetic changes. Previous studies have suggested that both coffee and tea play an important role in modulating disease-risk in humans by suppressing tumor progression, decreasing inflammation, and influencing estrogen metabolism, mechanisms that may be mediated by epigenetic changes. The results show that there are epigenetic changes in women consuming tea, but not in men. Interestingly, many of these epigenetic changes were found in genes involved in cancer and estrogen metabolism. "Previous studies have shown that tea consumption reduces estrogen levels which highlights a potential difference between the biological response to tea in men and women.
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