Green Tea Side Effects
from Caffeine, Fluoride and Aluminum

Some users of green tea have reported bad reactions after drinking it. Green tea side effects can include increased urination, rapid heart beat, headache, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness and other problems. Most of the time, these are attributed to green tea's caffeine content.

How Much Caffeine is there in Green Tea? Green tea contains about half the amount of caffeine that is found in regular coffee, depending on the amount of tea used and the length of time the leaves are brewed. If you're sensitive to the caffeine in coffee, you might have a reaction to the caffeine in green tea also.

Decaffeinating Your Own Cup of Tea. Most of the caffeine in green tea is released into the water in the first minute of brewing. You can use this to your advantage if you'd prefer decaffeinated tea. Here's how to do it with tea bags:

  1. Pour enough hot water into the cup to fully cover the tea bag.
  2. Let it steep for one minute.
  3. Pour off the caffeine-saturated water.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the tea bag as possible.
  5. Pour hot water over the wet tea bag and make your tea as usual.

If you drink weak to medium-strength tea, you can use the same bag to make a second cup later.

If you're trying to avoid caffeine, another option is to drink decaffeinated green tea; however, decaf green tea has only about half the antioxidant content of regular green tea. This means that you would have to drink twice as much tea to get the same amount of green tea health benefits.

See my page How to Brew Green Tea for more details.

Green Tea Side Effects
May Be from Other Toxins

There are other toxic components in green tea that may be more worrisome than caffeine; namely, fluoride and aluminum. Most people won't have an immediate reaction to ingesting either of these toxic substances unless they are particularly sensitive. Nevertheless, everyone should be concerned about the health effects from long-term consumption.

Green Tea Side Effects from High Fluoride Content. Let's look at fluoride first. Many people aren't even aware that fluoride is a highly toxic substance. After all, they add it to many municipal drinking water supplies as a preventive measure against cavities, don't they?

Well, my friends, the fluoridation of drinking water is one of the cruelest hoaxes ever perpetrated against the public in the history of mankind. Fluoride is actually an industrial waste product from the manufacture of aluminum, and second to mercury as the most toxic substance known.

There is also no scientific evidence to support the idea that drinking fluoridated water has any effect on cavity reduction. This may sound crazy, so please don't take my word for it; do some of your own research. The best source for information on the hazards of fluoridation can be found here: Fluoride Action Network.

In addition to municipal drinking water, other sources of fluoride in your environment include infant formula, processed cereals, fruit juices, soda, tea, wine, beer, chicken, fish, teflon pans, pesticides and cigarettes. Fluoride is not necessarily a natural component of these foods, more often, it's added in the processing of it. As you can see, getting too much fluoride is all too easy already.

Symptoms of fluoride poisoning include stomach and intestinal pains, severe headaches, weakness and fatigue, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, worsening of allergic conditions including wheezy breathing, blurred vision, excessive thirst and joint pains. Nearly all victims have fatigue that can only be relieved by completely avoiding all sources of fluoride.

Long-term exposure to fluoride can lead to many other problems, regardless of whether or not you're "sensitive." In many cases, victims have no idea what caused these problems, because they're a result of long-term exposure to fluoride toxicity. These conditions include:

  • dental fluorosis — a condition that leaves your teeth pitted and mottled with brown spots)
  • skeletal fluorosis — a debilitating skeletal disease marked by arthritis-type pain which is potentially crippling. Skeletal fluorosis can lead to calcification of ligaments, bone spurs, fused vertebrae and stiff joints
  • damage to DNA-repair enzymes
  • increased risk for osteoporosis and hip fractures
  • increased risk of cancer
  • weakened immune system
  • abnormal brain development and lower IQ's in small children
  • hypothyroidism
  • reduced fertility in males
  • birth defects

Fluoride Content of Green Tea is about about 3 parts per million, three times the recommended amount of 1 ppm set for drinking water by the EPA. The actual fluoride content of tea depends on the fluoride content of the soil in which it is grown, but tea leaves accumulate more fluoride than any other edible plant.

The longer a tea bag steeped, the more fluoride is released. Decaffeinated teas have an even higher fluoride content, probably due to high fluoride levels in the water used in the decaffeination process.

I've done a extensive amount of research into this topic, and haven't been able to resolve the issue of whether the fluoride content of green tea is problematic or not. Certainly, if you experience any bad effects from drinking green tea, I would stop drinking it as a precaution.

Green Tea Side Effects from Aluminum. Green tea often contains high levels of aluminum. Excessive aluminum increases free radical production and leads to serious bone and brain disorders. There is a strong link between aluminum levels in the brain and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Aluminum, in the form of aluminum sulfate, is also frequently used to treat public water supplies. Most municipal water systems contain significant amounts of aluminum. Other common sources of aluminum exposure are antiperspirants, aluminum containers and aluminum cookware and medications.

On the plus side, the aluminum in green tea is less absorbable, maybe because it is bound to the flavonoids in the tea. However, adding lemon to your tea dramatically increases aluminum absorption, maybe by as much as 10 times.

Pesticides in Tea. It's also been found that green tea can contain high levels of the pesticide DDT. So, if you do choose to drink green tea, it would be wise to choose organic varieties.

How to Avoid Green Tea Side Effects

Antioxidants Offer Protection Against Green Tea Side Effects. Antioxidant nutrients that are effective in protecting you from fluoride and aluminum toxicity include vitamin C, Vitamin E, glutathione and alpha lipoic acid, as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium.

White Tea Offers a Great Alternative. Because of the presence of aluminum and fluoride, I recommend that you choose your green tea carefully, or better yet, drink white tea instead.

Tea plants accumulate fluoride in their leaves over time, so the oldest leaves contain the most fluoride, while the youngest ones contain the least. Therefore, white tea (which is made from youngest leaves and buds) is your safest bet. White tea is very similar to green tea, but has very low levels of aluminum and fluoride. White tea also happens to have higher antioxidant levels than green tea.

Green Tea Extracts. If you truly want the advantages of green tea, and don't want to worry about the toxicity, tablets and capsules containing standardized extracts of green tea might be a better option. These provide up to 98% polyphenol content, and are the equivalent to drinking about 3 cups of tea — and you can find green tea extracts without caffeine, fluoride or aluminum in them.

Other pages on this website about green tea:

Green Tea Health Benefits

Green Tea Facts

How to Brew Green Tea

Green Tea Supplements

Antioxidants Home Page from Green Tea Side Effects


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