Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease that is rapidly increasing and has become a major public health problem. Type 2 DM (T2DM) is the most common type, accounting for up to 90-95% of the new diagnosed DM cases. The brain is very susceptible to glucose fluctuations and hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress (OS). It is well known that DM and the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases are associated. Tea, Camellia sinensis L., is one of the most consumed beverages. It contains several phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, methylxanthines (mainly caffeine) and L-theanine that are often reported to be responsible for tea's health benefits, including in brain. Tea phytochemicals have been reported to be responsible for tea's significant antidiabetic and neuroprotective properties and antioxidant potential. Epidemiological studies have shown that regular consumption of tea has positive effects on DM-caused complications and protects the brain against oxidative damage, contributing to an improvement of the cognitive function. Among the several reported benefits of tea consumption, those related with neurodegenerative diseases are of great interest. Herein, we discuss the potential beneficial effects of tea consumption and tea phytochemicals on DM and how their action can counteract the severe brain damage induced by this disease.
Keywords: Brain; L-theanine; caffeine; catechins; diabetes mellitus; tea.