Turns Out Drinking Too Much Green Tea Is Seriously Harmful

Updated 08/22/19
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We know that green tea is packed with antioxidants and health benefits, like boosting your metabolism and giving you a nice, even energy boost sans the mid-afternoon coffee crash. Not to mention, nothing beats curling up and sipping on a warm cup of this soothing beverage.

But it turns out there can be too much of a good thing in this case. For one 16-year-old, drinking three cups of green tea per day as part of a weight-loss plan led to herb-induced hepatitis—yikes!

The Lowdown

The condition is known as herbal hepatotoxicity, which happens when too many herbs or supplements are ingested, thus leading to toxin-induced hepatitis. Just like the labels on painkillers warn, sipping too much green tea can have the same liver-damaging effect.

The ingredient in question is catechin, a natural phenol and antioxidant. While catechin is a powerful anti-inflammatory, drinking too much of the ingredient can greatly harm your liver. NYC gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal says of catechins, "When you start taking the extracts and boiling them down into concentrated capsules, it's kind of like little, tiny bombs going into your liver." Sounds incredibly scary.

How Much Is Too Much

If you're worried about whether you need to stop sipping green tea immediately, Sonpal says there's no need to fret: "Green tea is incredibly safe for the most part," he explains. "It's rare for hepatotoxicity to occur with daily normal consumption, like one or two cups." The damaging effects happen if you drink green tea religiously and have several cups per day. To find out how much is too much, speak to your doctor since everybody breaks down the compounds in foods and herbs differently.

The Alternative

If you’re in search of a healthy drink to sip daily, we recommend the Asobu Flavor It Infuser Water Bottle ($10). Water flavored with pure, fresh fruit tastes great, delivers vitamins, and keeps you hydrated all day long—all while being relatively benign and nearly impossible to overdose on. And with hydration comes a healthy glow. So, drink up!

What drinks do you swear by for health and beauty? Tell us in the comments below!

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