A cup of black tea first thing in the morning or a warm herbal tea to wind down in the evening may seem like a safer alternative to other popular stimulants like coffee or soda, but overdoing it on tea can actually have a laundry list of not so great side effects.
While the occasional cuppa won’t cause the average consumer any harm, according to WebMD, tea drinkers who are consistently reaching for another cup may want to be aware of just how much they’re really consuming in order to avoid possibly unsafe side effects.
With that in mind, here are a handful of unwelcome side effects that drinking too much tea can have on your body—from an increase in stress to more serious health implications, this is what you need to consider if you’ve been known to nurse a third- or fourth cup of tea on the regular.
You might notice an increase in anxiety or stress
Have you ever noticed your hands get a little shaky or your mind starts working in overdrive after indulging in one too many pots of tea? It’s not all in your head. In fact, while many people assume tea has less caffeine than coffee or soda, an average cup of tea can still contain up to 61mg of caffeine (the average cup of coffee contains around 40mg). Overconsumption of caffeine, no matter the source, can result in nervousness, increased anxiety, and overall restlessness, especially to those who aren’t used to consuming high amounts of the stuff.
You could end up disrupting your sleep cycle
Like any caffeinated beverage, too much tea too late in the day could very well be the culprit to your lingering insomnia. Health experts suggest limiting your caffeine consumption to under 200mg per day, and to switch to herbal tea at least eight hours before you plan on going to bed. Following these guidelines will allow your body to start producing melatonin to help you fall—and stay—asleep much easier.
You might experience heartburn or acid reflux
Caffeine is known to increase stomach acid production while relaxing the sphincter that separates your esophagus from your stomach in tandem, so if you’re someone who consumes large quantities of tea and suffer from frequent heartburn or acid reflux, you may want to cut down or switch to herbal tea.
You might notice worsened symptoms of IBS (if you already have it)
The caffeine in black tea, especially if you’ve been overdoing it lately, might worsen symptoms of diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome—and while it won’t flat out cause symptoms in healthy individuals, if you’re already suffering from IBS you may want to adjust the amount of tea you regularly consume.
You might increase your chances of developing osteoporosis
Drinking a caffeinated tea has been known to increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out of the body every time you have to go to the bathroom. In fact, WebMD suggests taking extra calcium to counterbalance the calcium losses to prevent weakened bones or increased chances of developing osteoporosis.