Tea consumption and attenuation of biological aging: a longitudinal analysis from two cohort studies

Lancet Reg Health West Pac. 2023 Nov 22:42:100955. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100955. eCollection 2024 Jan.


Background: The biological aging process can be modified through lifestyle interventions to prevent age-related diseases and extend healthspan. However, evidence from population-based studies on whether tea consumption could delay the biological aging process in humans remains limited.

Methods: This study included 7931 participants aged 30-79 years from the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort (CMEC) Study and 5998 participants aged 37-73 years from the UK Biobank (UKB) who participated in both the baseline and first follow-up surveys. Tea consumption information was collected through questionnaires. Biological age (BA) acceleration was calculated using clinical biomarkers and anthropometric measurements based on the Klemera Doubal method (KDM). Change-to-change analyses were performed to estimate the associations between changes in tea consumption status and changes in BA acceleration using multiple linear models. Follow-up adjusted for baseline analyses were further conducted to examine the prospective exposure-response relationship between tea consumption and BA acceleration among individuals with constant tea consumption status.

Findings: During a median follow-up of 1.98 (1.78, 2.16) years in the CMEC and 4.50 (3.92, 5.00) years in the UKB, tea consumption was consistently associated with attenuated BA acceleration in both cohorts. Transitioning from nondrinking to tea-drinking was associated with decreased BA acceleration (CMEC: β = -0.319, 95% CI: -0.620 to -0.017 years; UKB: β = -0.267, 95% CI: -0.831 to 0.297 years) compared to consistent nondrinking. Even stronger associations were found in consistent tea drinkers. The exposure-response relationship suggested that consuming around 3 cups of tea or 6-8 g of tea leaves per day may offer the most evident anti-aging benefits.

Interpretation: Tea consumption was associated with attenuated BA acceleration measured by KDM, especially for consistent tea drinkers with moderate consumption. Our findings highlight the potential role of tea in developing nutrition-oriented anti-aging interventions and guiding healthy aging policies.

Funding: National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 82273740).

Keywords: Biological aging; Change-to-change analysis; Exposure-response relationship; Follow-up adjusted for baseline analysis; Tea consumption.