Background: Tea has attracted considerable attention for its potential cardioprotective effects. The primary chemical components of tea are thought to have a beneficial effect by reducing arterial stiffness. The objective of this study was to assess the association between tea consumption and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) in a relatively healthy Chinese population. Methods: We enrolled 3,135 apparently healthy subjects from October 2006 to August 2009. Subjects taking medication for diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, or with a history of cardiovascular disease, were excluded from the study. The subjects were categorized into three groups according to their tea-drinking habits: (1) none to low (n = 1615), defined as non-habitual tea drinkers, or drinking for <1 year, or drinking ≤150 mL per day for ≥1 year ; (2) moderate tea consumption, defined as drinking for ≥1 year and consumption between 151 and 450 mL per day; and (3) heavy tea consumption, defined as a drinking for ≥1 year and consumption >450 mL per day. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine whether different levels of consumption were independently associated with the highest quartile of baPWV values, defined as ≥1428.5 cm/s. Results: Of the 3,135 subjects, 48.5% had drunk >150 mL of tea per day for at least 1 year. In multivariate regression analysis with adjustment for co-variables, including, age, sex, current smoking, alcohol use, habitual exercise, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TC/HDL-C) ratio >5, obesity, newly diagnosed hypertension and diabetes, subjects with high tea consumption had a decreased risk of highest quartile of baPWV by 22% (odds ratio = 0.78, 95% confidence interval = 0.62-0.98, p = 0.032), while subjects with moderate tea consumption did not (p = 0.742), as compared subjects with none to low tea consumption. Conclusions: High, but not moderate, habitual tea consumption may decrease arterial stiffness.
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