The use of green tea as an aid to health may prove to be a disaster. The problem is that today’s green tea is not the same as it was hundreds of years ago. The plant is the same. The antioxidants are there. But there is also something else in today’s green tea in quantities which are unprecedented and quite troublesome: fluoride.
Despite what many of the nutrition texts tell us, fluoride has no recognized, essential use in the human body. It is simply a poisonous substance--one of the most toxic known to man. What’s more, green tea is becoming increasingly more contaminated with fluoride than ever before. But how much fluoride could there possibly be in a cup of green tea?
What has been found is that most teas evaluated exceed the maximum fluoride contaminant level of 4 parts per million set by the EPA for drinking water. Any person with a lifetime of consuming more than the established contaminant level is expected to develop crippling skeletal fluorosis (denser, but more brittle bones). The first stage of this disease--vague muscular pains, as well sporadic pain and stiffness in the joints and spine--is estimated to develop in as little as five years based on the daily consumption of the amount of fluoride found in three or four average cups of green tea.
Another problem associated with fluoride consumption is the impact it has on the thyroid. Fluoride suppresses thyroid function, leading to hypothyroidism. In fact, many years ago fluoride was used as a means to treat hyperthyroidism with amounts less than what can be found in a cup of many green teas.
To make matters worse, some samples of green tea recently analyzed have proven to be contaminated with DDT and the DDT-like pesticide Dursban--raising concerns about tea’s possible role in the development of breast cancer.
With all this bad news, it seems that the antioxidants which tea drinkers are hoping to acquire from their beverage may come ironically at the expense of their overall health. Chocolate has four times the amount of antioxidant catechins as green tea. Significant amounts of these health-promoting substances can be found as well in red wine, apples and pears.
In a large 2001 study involving 26,000 people, no association was found between green tea consumption and the risk of gastric cancer. In 2002 an even larger study of 73,000 individuals found the same thing. An earlier study, however, found green tea consumption was linked to higher rates of stomach cancer.
Fluoride consumption, as in tea, does indeed create denser bones. However, this increased bone mineral density (BMD) comes at a stiff price. The bones become more brittle and are more prone to fracture. And bone strength is reduced. As mentioned, arthritic symptoms are also associated with high fluoride intake. Many people have reported that their arthritis vanished after eliminating tea from their diets.
Since most Americans daily consume from multiple sources more fluoride than what is deemed to be safe by the EPA, it would be ill-advised to intentionally add more of this stuff to the diet in the form of tea.
Besides, herbal teas taste better. So does chocolate.
Excerpted from "Politically Incorrect Nutrition" by Michael Barbee (Vital Health Publishing)
By Michael Barbee
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