Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Too Much Tea Bad For You?



Short answer

Too much tea is potentially deadly. There are several risks associated with overconsumption of tea and a grand total of zero benefits to be had from doing so.



Long answer

Tea, especially green tea, is known for its many health benefits - in particular, its ability to provide the body with a good source of antioxidants. However, much like alcohol, too much tea causes a loss of benefits, leaving only negative consequences. The first thing to consider is the amount of caffeine. While teas vary in their caffeine content, an excessive amount of caffeine (which, like nicotine, is a nootropic drug) can lead to anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and in extreme cases - death due to toxicity. Drinking excessive amounts of tea can also bring about a ringing in the ears (tinnitus), nausea (with the risk greatly increased if consumed on an empty stomach), and dry heaving. Furthermore, black tea may make you feel bloated with excessive amounts over a long period of time possibly leading to skeletal fluorosis. Too much green tea, for its part, can complicate symptoms of people suffering from anxiety, hypertension, or stomach ulcers. Some studies also implicate too much green tea with an increased risk of colorectal, lung, and esophageal cancers. One study found that too much hot tea can triple the risk of esophageal cancer in women and another showed that men who drink seven or more cups of tea per day increase their risk of prostate cancer by 50%. 

Black tea also contains oxalates and in the case of one lucky individual, too much of the drink can lead to oxalate build-up in the kidneys and cause renal failure. The man survived, by the way, but only due to the life-saving actions of the doctors in the ER. One more thing to beware of is that people who go from strongly fermented to lower/unfermented teas are at greater risk of experiencing negative side effects, as are those who are normally not heavy tea drinkers. 

Tea in moderation is quite good for you and has several health benefits. Too much, however, should be avoided. Although the types of tea and their effects of over consumption vary, we recommend staying below four cups per day--with a maximum of five.

Possible short-term side effects

  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • tinnitus
  • impaired iron absorption

Possible long-term side effects

  • renal failure
  • skeletal fluorosis
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

Big is too much tea bad for you 2

Healthier alternatives

  • consume tea in moderation

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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-12-2016

Written by Jeff Volling
Suggest improvement or correction

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