NUTRITION

Is Tea Addictive? Let's Find Out

by George Andon on Aug 10, 2022

Is Tea Addictive? Let's Find Out

One of the most consumed beverages globally is tea. There are several types of it, all descended from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Most people view tea as a healthy supplement to their diet since several tea constituents have repeatedly been connected to a range of health advantages.

However, others contend that consuming excessive amounts of tea may have negative health effects due to its addictive potential.

This article investigates if tea addiction is possible and, if so, what remedies there are.

Does Tea Contains Caffeine?

Caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive drug globally, is present in various levels in different varieties of tea. It is a natural stimulant and is frequently held responsible for tea's propensity for addiction.

Due to its molecular structure mimicking that of adenosine, a substance that is naturally present in your body that calms your central nervous system, caffeine is frequently classified as addictive.

Caffeine can occupy adenosine receptors in your brain and prevent adenosine from attaching to them as a result of their chemical structure. Because of the ensuing adenosine deficiency, your brain's cells are unable to detect fatigue.

Your body may also release more dopamine and other natural stimulants as a result, both of which help you stay alert and fight sensations of fatigue.

According to a theory, consuming tea or other caffeinated beverages often may encourage your brain cells to produce more adenosine receptors to make up for those that caffeine blocks.

This might result in you needing significantly more tea to get the same benefits from caffeine over time. If you stop drinking the beverage suddenly, it could also make you feel the effects of withdrawal.

Caffeine-containing meals and beverages are ultimately thought to have a potential for addiction because of these alterations in brain chemistry.

Caffeine levels in different types of tea

  • Black tea: 35–44 mg
  • Green tea: 33–71 mg
  • Oolong tea: 37–38mg
  • White tea: 33–48 mg
  • Matcha tea: 38–89 mg
  • Yerba mate: 45–67 mg
  • Decaffeinated tea: up to 12 mg
  • Herbal teas: 0 mg

How much tea you would need to consume daily to run the danger of addiction is yet unknown.

However, even if you just take in 100 mg of caffeine each day, you could suffer withdrawal symptoms if you cut back.

The amount of caffeine in tea varies by variation. The usual quantity of caffeine in 1 cup (240 mL) of popular teas is shown above.

These figures suggest that consuming as few as 2-3 cups of specific varieties of tea per day may be sufficient to trigger the physical addiction signs, but further study is required before firm conclusions can be drawn.

How to know if you are addicted to caffeine

  • Headaches
  • Lack of concentration
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood

It might be challenging to determine whether you have a physical dependence on tea.

One indication might be that despite unpleasant side effects like headaches or jitteriness, you find it difficult to cut back on your consumption.

Examining if you feel any withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop drinking tea is another technique to determine whether you have developed an addiction.

These symptoms might start as soon as 12 to 24 hours after you stop drinking tea and could persist up to 9 days. Typically, within the first 9 days, the intensity of symptoms peaks, then progressively declines.

Can drinking too much tea be harmful for you?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) advise adults to limit their daily caffeine intake to 400 mg. Depending on the type, this equates to 4.5–12 cups (1.1–2.9 liters) of tea each day.

Pregnant women should keep their daily caffeine intake to 200 mg or less.

Tea consumption below these limits is regarded as safe for the majority of people. However, some people could be highly sensitive to caffeine, resulting in severe side effects even at little intakes.

An increased risk of heart attacks as well as jitteriness, insomnia, increased urination, irritability, muscle twitches, heart palpitations, and migraines are some of these adverse effects that may occur.

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