You might have heard of another supposed drawback of tea - that it causes aluminum toxicity. Like the issue on fluoride absorption, some people think that tea could be harmful to health as it absorbs in it quantities of aluminum. We already have discussed the matter with fluoride in the previous post, and will explain further why you shouldn't fret a lot on this aluminum issue- especially if you're a tea drinker.
What is aluminum?
Aluminum is the world's most abundant metal. And although rich in quantity, it can never be found as a free metal. It's always combined with other elements such as fluorine and oxygen.
Aluminum can enter the body in different ways - that including ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact.
Can aluminum be harmful to one's health?
Yes it could. But the effects vary depending on the manner of acquisition and quantity. Since we're dealing with aluminum on tea, let's discuss more specifically of the effects of aluminum via oral ingestion.
Oral ingestion of aluminum to human body is generally considered not harmful. Exposure to high levels of aluminum however, was thought to cause Alzheimer's disease but no strong evidence proves this true.
People who already have kidney issues potentially could store more aluminum in their bodies. This is because ¬†the condition hinders aluminum discharge through urine.
Long term, high level uptakes of aluminum can cause serious health problems such as liver toxicity, neurotoxicity, digestive disorders, among others.
Aluminum on Tea
Daily allowable intake of aluminum is 6-14mg/day for teens and adults (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). Like the case on fluoride, aluminum is more abundant on older tea leaves. In this relation, green tea and black tea have the most amounts of aluminum absorbed. But does this impose a threat to human health?
According to cancer.gov, infusions of green and black tea could range from 14 to 2238 micrograms per liter, depending on varying conditions. Note that 1 mg is equal to 1000 micrograms and 1 liter is equal to 4.23 cups. Therefore, on a worst case scenario, a cup of either green or black tea could contain 0.5293mg/cup of aluminum. Now to drink at least 6 mg, you need to take at least 11 cups of either green or black tea and 26 cups to exhaust all 14 mg of allowable daily aluminum intake.
As mentioned on the previous article on fluoride, broken tea as is found in tea bag has the lowest quality and has the greatest amounts of aluminum in it. Therefore, opt for high quality loose-leaf tea as it significantly has lesser aluminum concentrations.
Now you know there aren't any dangers of aluminum toxicity drinking tea unless you had the highest possible level of aluminum in a poor quality tea and then you had at least 30 cups a day for an extended period of time. ¬†