The Man Who Almost Died From Drinking Tea

The study of when too much of a good thing can kill you — about 16 glasses every day.

You can have too much of a good thing. James Hamblin from The Atlantic writes that a 56-year-old man arrived at the hospital, complaining of body aches, nausea, and fatigue. After the doctors took some blood for testing, they found it was bursting with creatinine — he was experiencing kidney failure.


After more tests, the doctors found oxalate crystals in his urine. This sign usually leads doctors to question patients as to whether or not they've been downing antifreeze. The patient denied it (as people who consume antifreeze typically do), however, the doctors wrote in their report, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, "On further questioning, the patient admitted to drinking 16 eight-ounce glasses of iced tea daily."

Nephrologist Umbar Ghaffar said in an interview:

"That's what we think was the cause of his kidney failure.”

Too much of any good thing can be quite harmful. Oxalate isn't just a chemical that's a metabolic byproduct of tea, but it's in spinach as well. That's not to say you shouldn't eat spinach or never drink tea; just make sure you moderate your intake.

Nephrologist Ramya Malchira from UCLA told Medline Plus:

"Two to three glasses [of tea] would be considered safe if you are not eating other oxalates. However, if someone were also eating high quantities of high-oxalate foods such as spinach, even two or three glasses could be too much."

With a nation driving to create a healthier America, there's an emerging trend of people who are obsessed with eating only what they deem as “pure” foods. It's called orthorexia. While it may begin as a well-intentioned exercise in eating right, for some, it can evolve into a control issue. But the truth is that too much of anything can be bad; even too much water can kill you.

Read more about the perplexing account in The Atlantic and in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

Videos
  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less