Oolong Overdose: How Much Tea is Too Much? August 25 2014

posted by Nick Schäferhoff

Too much of a good thing

I talk a lot about the benefits of tea and why it is good for you. But is it really this universal health drink that it sometimes appears to be? Or is there such a thing as too much tea? And if there is, what is the limit?

If doing an online search for “tea overdose”, you quickly come across the story of a woman from Michigan whose tea habit caused her severe health problems. Excess fluoride in her system made her bones dense and brittle and resulted in her having her teeth removed. Yikes! Who wants that?!

But before you throw out all the green tea in your pantry and vow to never touch this devil weed again, be aware that this woman was drinking a whole pitcher of tea made from 100-150 tea bags every day for 20 years. That's right. More than 100 tea bags. Daily. For two decades.  The thing is that you can overdo anything. All things that are generally good for us can become toxic, dangerous, or have otherwise undesirable consequences if taken too far: Exercise, sleep, discipline – hell, you can even die from drinking too much water!  So it's all about balance. Everything in moderation. Tea is no exception.


How much tea should you drink then?

Let's talk numbers, I hear you say, what is the correct amount?   From everything that I have read so far, between three and six cups of green tea per day is the optimum amount. After all, that is what some of longest-living people on earth subsist on. Another source said that up to ten cups is fine. Black tea might be a little less than the green kind.  The important part, however, is to listen to your own body. Everyone is a little different and reacts differently to the same foods. Ten cups is way past what I enjoy drinking and would have me shaking like a leaf. Instead I opt for about two cups per day.  Your preference might be more or less. It's a matter of trying out. However, if you get close to 100 teabags, it is probably time to rethink your approach.