Does Green Tea Have a Dark Side? Two Studies Say Green Tea Benefits Countered By Health Risks

Do Green Tea Benefits Have a Dark Side? Two Studies Point to Health Risks in Consuming Green Tea Products

Having trouble conceiving, and you may be advised to slow down, relax, have a cup of tea and see if that doesn’t make getting pregnant a bit easier. But you might not want to make yourself a cup of green tea—as a recent study linked it to infertility.

If you’re thinking that’s a typo—green tea benefits are well known, right?—well, it’s not. Green tea, like most things in life, has a bit of a dark side.

In the recent research out of UC Irvine, green tea showed a link not only to decreased offspring (the subjects of the study were fruit flies), but also to larvae that were slower to develop than the control group. The flies’ testicles and ovaries also showed “developmental abnormalities.”

I know what you’re thinking now, do fruit flies drink tea? Maybe? If it’s cold outside? As bedtime story cute as that may be, fruit flies actually have quite a few similarities to humans; they share about 75 percent of the same genes that cause diseases in humans, making them an often-studied species when looking at human health risks.

The study also gave the fruit flies a tremendous amount of green tea—about 10 milligrams for a fruit fly compared to the 500 or so milligrams a human would consume in a cup is still A. LOT. OF. TEA., particularly for a speck of a fly, thousands of times smaller than even the smallest humans.

Another study, published in 2014, led The American College of Gastroenterology to release a warning about green tea, particularly when it’s isolated into a supplement, such as a weight loss pill.

According to that research, catechins, a type of antioxidants found in green tea, may actually make cell mitochondria unable to turn food into energy. This could lead to serious health conditions including jaundice, hepatitis, and liver failure.

Of course, none of this research means you should steer clear of green tea benefits—it’s loaded with chemicals known for improving our health. But it does serve to remind us of two things: First, too much of a good thing can quickly turn rather bad. And second: foods (or teas!) are best for us when they’re unadulterated, consumed in their most natural state.

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Woman with tea image via Shutterstock