Sunday, October 18, 2009

Done to a tea.


Interesting story about tea recently:

A 44-year-old man presented in May, 2001, with muscle cramps. He had recently switched to drinking Earl Grey tea in preference to his regular black tea.

One week after the change, he noticed repeated muscle cramps for some seconds in his right foot. The longer he drank Earl Grey tea, the more intense the muscle cramps became. After 3 weeks, they also occurred in the left foot...

Earl Grey tea is composed of black tea and the essence of bergamot oil, an extract from the rind of bergamot orange (Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia), which has a pleasant, refreshing scent.

(You can skip this paragraph, if you wish)
The adverse effects of bergamot oil in this patient are explained by the effect of bergapten as a largely selective axolemmal potassium channel blocker, reducing potassium permeability at the nodes of Ranvier in a time-dependent manner. This may lead to hyperexcitability of the axonal membrane and phasic alterations of potassium currents, causing fasciculations and muscle cramps.

In other words, it disrupts the way chemicals flow through the membrane of the nerve fibres, causing the neurons that connect to the muscles to malfunction.
I should add he was drinking four litres (a gallon, say) a day.

But it plays into my constant refrain: too much of anything is bad for you.

Food-wise, at least.


  1. FOUR LITRES!!! That's amazing. I think of myself as a tea addict on three mugs!You don't really need a doctor to tell you that four litres is an itsy bitsy too much...

  2. Food-wise, too much isn't nearly enough if you ask me.

  3. Good to know. Wouldn't in a million years drink that much but just in case I'm tempted...

  4. Even too much toast and marmalade?


Moderation cuts in six days after posting.