Iced Tea Linked to Arkansas Man’s Kidney Failure

Around Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR – An Arkansas study that has linked iced tea to a man’s kidney failure is making health headlines.

The research is published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The case involves a 56-year-old man who went to the hospital in May 2014 suffering from weakness, fatigue, body aches, and an elevated serum creatinine level.

As a medical team worked to find out what was making him sick, they considered whether or not he had had gastric bypass surgery, the over ingestion of ascorbic acid, the use of “juicing,” or ethylene glycol poisoning.

Doctors needed to find the source for the presence of abundant calcium oxalate crystals in his body. Their aha moment came when the patient told them he drank sixteen 8-oz glasses of iced tea daily.

Black tea, a rich source of oxalate, is known to cause kidney stones or even kidney failure in excessive amounts. The study noted that about 84 percent of tea consumed in the United States is black tea. With 16 cups of tea daily, the patient’s daily consumption of oxalate was more than 1500 mg — a level that is higher than the average American intake by a factor of about 3 to 10.

Dr. Fahd Syed (Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System), Dr. Alejandra Mena-Gutierrez and Dr. Umbar Ghaffar (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) co-published the article.

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