Green tea is one of the ancient refreshing drinks consumed since thousands of years in China, Japan and India. It is also considered to be a best known herbal tea having incredible health benefits. In recent times green tea has gained popularity in western world especially for its health benefits ranging from weight loss to lowering the risk of cancer. People drink this beverage hot or cold depending on their mood and temperature.
Drinking green tea in moderation is always safe. But too much consumption of green tea (more than 5 cups in a day), is known to produce many side effects.Just like all other types of tea and coffee, green tea too contains caffeine although in small amount. Those who have very low tolerance to caffeine may experience untoward side effects after ingesting green tea.
Those who are suffering from certain health problems such as iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis etc should limit its intake as the contents in green tea can further worsen the condition. All are aware of green tea benefits, but very less people know the side effects of green tea.
What Happens If You Drink Too Much Green Tea?
There are several side effects noted especially when green tea is consumed in excess.
- Caffeine related problems: Most of the side effects are attributed to caffeine present in green tea, although the content in green tea is lower than its counterpart. Drinking in excess can lead caffeine related health problems such as headache, stomach upsets, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It also increases frequency of urination.
- Iron deficiency anemia: Difficult to believe, but consuming green tea in excess can cause iron deficiency anemia or worsen the already present condition. This is because green tea contains a substance called tannin. When present in excess tannin can curtail absorption of iron from the gut, thus leading to iron deficiency.
- Interferes with certain medicines: The polyphenols present in green tea are known for their health promoting properties. However, this substance is found to block the beneficial effect of certain medicines especially certain anti cancer drugs.
- Increases osteoporosis of bones: Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak due to loss of calcium. Drinking too much of green tea causes excess of urination. Calcium is lost in urine leading to deficiency of calcium in long run.
- Increased palpitation: Some people may experience rapid and irregular heartbeats if they consume too much of green tea. It is linked with caffeine present in green tea.
- Toxic: Consuming green tea while fasting or on diet can lead to gastrointestinal and liver toxicity. Several tests on animals have revealed this toxic effect. Researchers believe the same effect can occur in humans when they drink green tea while fasting.
- Health risk during pregnancy: Drinking excess of green tea during pregnancy can affect the health of pregnant woman as well as the fetus in her womb. Caffeine, tannin and catechins present in green tea are linked to pregnancy related health risk. It can increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant woman. Since caffeine can pass through the breast milk it can also affect the nursing child.
- Lowers testosterone level in males: Too much consumption of green tea can lower the testosterone level in males. This hormone is predominantly a male hormone.
Although the above mentioned side effects can occur after drinking green tea, it does not mean you have to stop drinking green tea. Instead drink in moderation so that you may not experience the untoward side effects.