Where ideas are born
I was just on vacation in Turkey for three weeks, and I couldn’t help but notice something. Turkish people, especially the older population, can’t seem to avoid dreadful joint problems. I haven’t spoken to one person over 40 who doesn’t seem to have some kind of chronic joint pain.
I do know, however, that Turks consume more tea than any other nation in the world…
Tea catechins and other ingredients require methylation in the liver to be metabolized. This is just one example of the conjugation reactions that take place in the liver that are critical in the step-wise metabolism that result in these substances being broken-down and readied for excretion.
These compounds found in tea, required the methylation reaction for their metabolism, should thusforth be a source of betaine-demand. See, betaine (tri-methylglycine) donates methyl groups for the methylation reaction to proceed; as such, the more tea-compounds that enter the liver, the more betaine is used and the less available betaine there is. This would logically draw betaine from other locations in the body via the blood-stream, as the need for methyl groups increases with every glass of tea drinken. In turkey, 6 glasses of tea could be consumed in one day with ease.
Now, besides being a methyl-group donater, betaine also serves a critical role in the body as a blood-volume buffer.
It is one of the most critical osmo-regulants of the bloodstream.
What it does is ensure the volume of the blood is large enough at any point in time to house more ions. as these ions increase in concentration in the blood, they pose a risk of precipitating out of solution as crystals that then pose a joint- and kidney-risk for deposition.
If the mass of ions in the blood are elevated, while the blood volume remains the same, then there is an increased likelihood of precipitation and crystallization, as concentration = mass solute (ion) / volume solution (blood). Betaine increases the effective blood volume, thereby making the apparent concentration of each ion smaller, and thereby reducing the likelihood of precipitation and crystallization.
Now, we understand then that drinking tea, by consuming betaine in the process of its metabolism, will already reduce the total amount of betaine molecules available in the human body.
This means the apparent concentrations of ions throughout the body will already be elevated due to this.
But then we have another angle whereby tea can affect this concentration even more. Tea contains caffeine, which is a diuretic. It reduces total blood volume. Now we have a second avenue whereby the blood volume is less than it should, assuming no change to the mass of the ions in the bloodstream. Now, once again, apparent ion concentration, be it calcium, be it oxalate, be it phosphate, be it urate, is facing elevation-pressure.
All pathways combined, we see why tea, consumed at the per-capita rate that it is in Turkey, could pose a pandemic joint & kidney issue, as Turkey is witnessing currently in the older populations…