Overdosing on Tea

Overdosing on Tea
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How much is too much?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Now, to significantly extend our lifespan, the latest research suggests one would have to drink seven cups of tea a day, which raises the question: how much is too much?

Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing—even water. Last year, for example, a jury awarded $16 million to a family whose mom died of water intoxication trying to win her family a Nintendo. Some radio jocks came up with the idea for a “Hold your Wee for a Wii” contest. Whoever could drink the most water wins. Jennifer came in second—before she keeled over dead.

So you can overdo anything. How much tea too much? Is the safe upper limit around 5 cups a day, 10 cups, 15, 20? Or, can one safely drink 25 cups of tea a day?

The limiting factor is probably the fluoride levels in tea. There was a case recently reported of a woman developing fluoride toxicity from tea. How much did she drink? One to two gallons of double strength tea every day of her adult life. That’s the equivalent of about 30 to 60 cups of regular tea a day. That’s definitely too much.

Based on a new analysis of fluoride levels in five brands of bottled tea, I would recommend people not drink more than ten cups of tea a day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Now, to significantly extend our lifespan, the latest research suggests one would have to drink seven cups of tea a day, which raises the question: how much is too much?

Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing—even water. Last year, for example, a jury awarded $16 million to a family whose mom died of water intoxication trying to win her family a Nintendo. Some radio jocks came up with the idea for a “Hold your Wee for a Wii” contest. Whoever could drink the most water wins. Jennifer came in second—before she keeled over dead.

So you can overdo anything. How much tea too much? Is the safe upper limit around 5 cups a day, 10 cups, 15, 20? Or, can one safely drink 25 cups of tea a day?

The limiting factor is probably the fluoride levels in tea. There was a case recently reported of a woman developing fluoride toxicity from tea. How much did she drink? One to two gallons of double strength tea every day of her adult life. That’s the equivalent of about 30 to 60 cups of regular tea a day. That’s definitely too much.

Based on a new analysis of fluoride levels in five brands of bottled tea, I would recommend people not drink more than ten cups of tea a day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more on fluoride, check out Plant-Based Diets: Dental Health.

And check out my other videos on tea.

Also see my associated blog posts: The Best DetoxNutmeg Toxicity; and Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

25 responses to “Overdosing on Tea

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    1. Tea contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants and help reduce free radical damage and oxidisation. Societies built on tea, such as China and Japan, seem to have low levels of cancer compared to Western countries – although it’s worth noting that they tend to consume green tea. At the same time, tea – especially black tea – also contains tannins, which inhibit the absorption of minerals such as zinc and iron. So too much is not a good idea. Caffeine, whether in tea or coffee, is a stimulant which can cause anxiety and disrupt the sleep cycle if taken in excess (you don’t need a study to show you that!), as well as leading to withdrawal effects such as headaches. But based on the research, there are also benefits to consuming coffee (see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/update-on-coffee/. However, women who drink coffee and who are (or want to be) pregnant should view this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/caffeine-during-pregnancy/, and those prone to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) should check out this post from my PMS warrior blog: http://www.pmswarrior.com/why-caffeine-and-pms-dont-mix/




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      1. It was noted by Dr. Caldwell Essylsten that when one drinks coffee, epithelial cell damage occurs, and it was linked to the caffeine. To weigh out the pros and cons, this outweighs the pros for me so I drink decaf.




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    1.   Here is Dr. Greger’s position on fluoride

      “The proposed (http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/3881d73f4d4aaa0b85257359003f5348/86964af577c37ab285257811005a8417!OpenDocument) EPA changes to water fluoridation have sparked a resurgence of many of the  old anti-fluoridation arguments, which as far as I can tell were  successfully debunked (http://www.dentalwatch.org/fl/classification_of_objections.pdf) over 50 years ago. According to the CDC, fluoridation of drinking water joins vaccination (another unjustly vilified practice) as one of the greatest public health achievements in the last last century (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm).”




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      1. there’s a big difference between naturally occurring and relatively harmless calcium fluoride and fluosolicic acid (by product of extracting uranium) or sodium fluoride (byproduct from china) Might want to look up the different types of “fluoride” that gets added to our water rather than say that “all fluoride” dangers have been debunked. The fluoride debunked in those studies IS NOT the “fluoride” added to our water.




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  1. a couple weeks ago started drinking organic green tea and i noticed every time i drink it i become unusually sad and anxious for no reason and i get really depressed, it last i think for a couple of hours

    can grean tea cause depression like symptoms in people?




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    1. The only study I’m aware of found that drinking 4 or more cups of tea a day was associated with significantly less depressive symptoms. But your own body knows best. If you don’t like how it makes you feel then I’d follow Toxins’ and DrDons’ advice to switch to something else.




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    2. From personal experience I know for my own body set in anxiety mode, caffeine do not go well together. Green better then coffee but still sweating above my nails on fingers after coffee or tea is a dead give away I need for at least a while cut down on caffeine.

      Ignoring such a warning even when feeling fine and suffer a stressor on top of it, panic disorder gets to be the boss of me and I’ll just have to suffer the consequences.

      Caffeine reaction is my panic disorder barometer.




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      1. Arjan: I think it is pretty cool that you have such a clear indicator – and that you are aware of it. I think a lot of people (myself included) don’t pay enough attention to signs our body is giving us.

        Thanks for sharing.




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  2. A Quick Note About How Much Green Tea East Asians Drink:

    East Asians, when drinking green tea will typically reuse the leaves. So a quart a day isn’t 4 fresh servings of tea.

    A decent ( not good, just decent ) quality green tea can be used more than once.

    East Asians will typically start off with a small pot of green tea leaves and keep reusing all day long, just refreshing it with more hot water.

    So, they probably get a lot less caffeine.




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  3. How about Matcha? Would you say it has the same upper limit as regular green tea or is the fluoride increased when one consumes the actual leaves?




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  4.  I am have seen this study in my past researches on tea. You did not note that this woman was specifically drinking large quantities of “brick tea” – apparently an important point, since brick tea is rather like ground whole-plant tea, and possibly contains a much greater concentration of hand-picked teas (only the leaves), such as those found in most higher-quality loose or bagged tea.




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  5. “Overdosing on Tea” or is it fluoride? We don’t drink bottled tea and we have well water. Is there fluoride in tea bags or plants?




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