Can You Have Too Much Tea?


You probably know that too much coffee can be detrimental to your health. Too much— nay, any— smoking can be, too. Or how about years of candy consumption for your teeth? Most definitely.

You get the point; there are many dietary choices Americans might make on a daily basis that are hazardous to physical health.

But did you know that even some of the most harmless-sounding, good-for-your-health-appearing, I-can-drink-as-much-as-I-want-of-it-looking drinks might lead to a poor health decision, too?

After decades of tea drinking led to severe tooth loss and other multiple bone problems for a 47-year-old Michigan woman, the answer might be an astounding yes.

Too Much Tea

First reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, the case of too much tea culminated when the tea drinker’s doctor Sudhaker Rao discovered that drinking “astronomical amounts” of highly concentrated tea for roughly 20 years had caused the patient’s fluoride levels to rise more than four times the normal amount.

While treating the patient for acute pain in her arms, back, hips, and legs, Rao found that her bones had become so brittle and weak that her teeth had to be removed.

“Her bone density was very high, seven times denser than normal,” Rao says. “It was like steel.”

In the US, brewed tea carries copious amounts of fluoride– something Rao believes was a key culprit for her bone problems. “There have been about three to four cases reported in the US associated with ingesting tea, especially large amounts of it,” he indicates.

The patient, who won’t be named to remain anonymous, had been drinking a pitcher of tea– containing nearly 20 milligrams of fluoride– daily. “Most of us can excrete fluoride extremely well, but if you drink too much, it can be a problem,” Rao says.

Fortunately, the patient was prescribed a tea-free diet, and has since recuperated. Experts say her incident of “too much tea” helps to show that extreme consumption of nearly any substance can be harmful– even the ones we consider good for us.

New York City doctor Joseph Lane, chief of the metabolic bone disease service at Weill Cornell Medical College, says he had a patient who “overdosed” on fish oil before. “Then she had a minor injury and bled a lot, almost like hemophilia,” Lane says. “It turns out the patient had too much vitamin E in the blood.”


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Olivia Barrie

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