University of Arkansas doctors traced a man's kidney failure to his drinking a gallon of iced tea each day.
The unidentified 56-year-old man visited the hospital with complaints of weakness, nausea, fatigue and body aches. He was examined, and doctors determined his kidneys had become clogged with a chemical called oxalate.
The man informed doctors he developed a habit of drinking 16 8-ounce cups of iced tea every day, leading them to determine his drink of choice as the cause of his failing kidneys. Oxalate is commonly found in black tea, a well as spinach, nuts and chocolate.
“It was the only reasonable explanation,” Dr. Umbar Ghaffar, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, said. Overconsumption of oxalate sometimes leads to kidney stones or kidney failure, but it often is worsened by an existing intestinal problem. Such a problem was not the case for the Arkansas patient.
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Ghaffar said the man had been drinking three to 10 times more oxalate than the average American, and added that he could potentially be on dialysis for the rest of his life due to his habit.
Despite the unusual case in Arkansas, iced tea does not pose a health risk to the average drinker.
“I wouldn’t tell people to stop drinking tea,” Yale kidney specialist Dr. Randy Luciano said, emphasizing that the Arkansas patient drank “a lot of tea.”