Everyday Iced Tea Consumption Is To Be Blamed For A Man’s Kidney Failure

Everyday Iced Tea Consumption Is To Be Blamed For A Man's Kidney Failure

The puzzling case of a 56-year-old U.S. man who was admitted on May 2014 at Arkansas hospital, feeling weak and achy with no history of kidney disorders, lead doctors to warn that massive consumption of iced tea may be responsible for some unexplained cases of kidney failure. Tests showed that his urine had high levels of calcium oxalate crystals, which are the components of kidney stones. And in this case, it’s being called as, Iced Tea Nephropathy by the New England Journal of Medicine.

So, the main source of the problem was an excessive amount of oxalate, a compound found in many foods. Excessive amounts can also come from “juicing,” having gastric bypass surgery, and by consuming foods with a lot of ascorbic acid such as beets, spinach, nuts and strawberries.

But in this case, the man said that he was drinking 16 nine-ounce (9 oz) glasses of iced tea each day which gives him more than 1,500 milligrams of oxalate per day.

Everyday Iced Tea Consumption Is To Be Blamed For A Man's Kidney Failure

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said that it is advisable not to consume consuming no more than 40-50 mg of oxalate per day.

If you drink tea once or twice a day, it probably wouldn’t exceed what is the normal range for Americans. But this patient was taking 10 times that amount,” said Dr. Umbar Ghaffa of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

The man’s kidney function has not recovered, and he remains on dialysis, said Dr. Alejandra Mena-Gutierrez, of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who treated the patient and wrote the report of his case. The authors of the report stressed that moderation is key when it comes to drinking iced tea or anything with tea.

We are not advising against tea consumption. If you are healthy and drink tea with moderation, it should not cause damage to your kidneys, ” Mena-Gutierrez said.

Everyday Iced Tea Consumption Is To Be Blamed For A Man's Kidney Failure

And yet, consuming too much oxalate can lead to kidney stones, which can damage the kidney by blocking the flow of urine.

But in this case there were oxalate crystals inside the kidney, and that generates an inflammatory reaction. If that’s not resolved it will cause scarring and loss of the kidney tissue. So that’s what probably was happening in this patient,” Ghaffar told Reuters Health.


He ultimately needed dialysis and remained on it because his kidney damage was so extensive.

Usually if they’re at the stage where they need dialysis, it would be unusual for it to reverse,” said Dr. Gary Curhan, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who was not involved with the case.

However, back then, the previous research has suggested that… “People who take tea in the usual amounts actually have a lower risk of kidney stones,” Curhan said.

But in this case, the person was drinking huge amounts of oxalate. I would caution people against drinking that much, but drinking a glass or two would not concern me. We just want to make patients aware that too much of anything is bad,” he said. 



via Reuters

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