Green tea is said to be a powerful healing beverage. It’s been around for such a long time as a remedy that it’s even mentioned in a 4,000-year-old Chinese legend! But, like most things with medical properties, this tea could be bad for you. If you overuse it, that is.
Green tea has been rediscovered lately. This is because scientists are finding that it has many health benefits. It contains all sorts of good stuff, such as polyphenols. These are antioxidants thought to help treat arthritis, boost your immune system, lower your risk for heart disease, and protect against cancer.
A recent study review has checked out what too much green tea can do to you. Researchers from the State University of New Jersey took a look at some past studies on green tea supplement toxicity. It’s been found that overdoing it on the polyphenols could lead to major problems with the liver or the stomach.
There have been studies on humans that have shown no negative effects, but there have also been actual reports of toxic liver damage due to the overuse of green tea. However, other ingredients in the supplements used in these cases have not been ruled out as culprits. Researchers are also considering the possibility that certain people could be more prone than others to suffering side effects from taking in too many polyphenols.
Studies on animals have demonstrated the negative consequences of green tea overuse. The New Jersey researchers reviewed studies on dogs, rats and mice. They found that giving large doses of green tea to the animals caused serious health issues with the liver, kidneys and intestine. Common symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea, and many of the animals died. But there’s no need to panic. As said, no studies have actually proven these same effects in people. Obviously, we need to see more large studies on the possible toxicity of green tea in humans.
So, what’s the deal? Should you stop drinking green tea?
For the moment, it seems that you just need to take it easy, especially if you’re taking the supplements. One little pill can pack in a lot of polyphenols compared to one cup of tea. If you’re taking green tea pills, don’t drink the beverage, and vice versa. Follow the instructions on the supplement packaging — and, when in doubt, talk to your doctor about dosage.
I’d say you’re safer getting your polyphenols in the beverage form. You can probably drink around three cups a day safely. Remember, even a good thing can turn bad if you overdo it. Even if it’s proven in future studies that polyphenols are not harmful in large quantities, remember that green tea contains caffeine. Moderation is always the safest route when it comes to your health. If you do notice any symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach problems or any other unusual sign, then stop drinking the tea or taking the supplements and see a doctor immediately.