Daily intake of FOUR LITERS of black iced tea damaged one man’s kidneys and a lifetime of dialysis

A 56-year-old man from Arkansas, in May,  came to the hospital complaining of weakness, nausea,  fatigue and body aches.

Tests disclosed high levels of calcium oxalate crystals, in his urine, which form into kidney stones.

Curiously enough,  the man said he had no medical or family history of kidney stones.Upon further investigation, he confessed to ingestion of an absurd amount of 16 250ml (8oz) glasses of iced tea daily, the equivalent of more than four liters or a gallon.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences doctors, blamed the excessive amount of iced tea he drinks on a daily basis, before  ruling out numerous causes for his kidney problems.

Black tea has high levels of oxalate, a chemical known to produce kidney stones, even lead to kidney failure if consumed in extreme doses.

Dr Umbar Ghaffar of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences ,who wrote about the patient in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine  said, ‘It was the only reasonable explanation.”

The man’s kidneys  were clogged with the chemical oxalate, to the point that they become inflamed.

He eventually needed dialysis because his kidney damage was so extensive, and doctors said he is likely to spend the rest of his life on dialysis.

With a habit of drinking more than four liters of ice tea a day, the unidentified man was consuming around 3 to 10 times the amount an average person takes in.

US studies have found that the adult drinks about 10 to 11 cups of liquid every day, including water, coffee and other beverages.

Dr Ghaffar said she didn’t know whether the man was drinking sweet tea, a brew made from black tea with a substantial serving of sugar that is popular in the South, even if he was diabetic.

According to Dr Randy Luciano, a Yale School of Medicine kidney specialist said, the man’s case, nevertheless, does not suggest health risks for most people.  “I wouldn’t tell people to stop drinking tea,” said Luciano, who has treated patients with oxalate-related kidney damage.

That man drank ‘a lot of tea.’




  1. who says

    He drank “an absurd”: 16 x 8 oz
    = 128 oz
    = 1 gallon
    per day
    16 x 250ml
    = 4 Liters
    per day
    And according to the author on avg people consume
    10.5 “cups” of liquid per day (note, not ounces or milliliters or liters…)
    So how much is this compared to that…
    8 ounces in a “cup” X 10.5
    = 84 ounces
    Or 2,484 milliliters
    He consumed 124 – 84 = 40oz more than “average”
    or 1.5 liters more than average
    or 32% more than averages
    This 32% to me doesn’t seem so “absurd”
    In fact it sounds a lot like the ~ 1 gallon of fluids I’ve heard folks should try to drink in a day…
    But that’s not so wild and crazy as this sounds, instead, we have the notion that this person was a freak…
    I’m just saying… the author has chosen to use different names for volumes and chose not to utilize math to demonstrate the differences between them does so to make his case that this is ABSURD, and in the process makes makes his/her piece kind of foggy… but perhaps he/she knew this, and that was the point… perhaps what’s more interesting is not the volume of liquid, just that in this case this individual had kidney failure… and one should watch out for over consumption of liquids known to cause these things…

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