Does Green Tea Damage the Kidneys?

Green tea is healthy and prevents kidney damage when you drink it in moderation. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which have high concentrations of phytonutrient polyphenols called catechins. The leaves also contain theanine, caffeine theobromine and theophylline. Consult your doctor about drinking green tea.

A cup of tradition green tea in front of a garden. (Image: kazoka30/iStock/Getty Images)

Kidney Toxicity from Drugs

Green tea protects your kidneys from drug-induced toxins. Reserpine is a medication that physicians prescribe to treat blood pressure and severe agitation in patients with mental health disorders. Reserpine causes kidney damage. Scientists at Kuwait University found that green tea elevates the body's antioxidant defense system, cleans up free radicals, lessens oxidative damage, and protects the kidneys against reserpine-induced toxicity, according to research published in "The Journal of Toxicological Sciences" in December 2009.

Kidney Damage from Ischemia

Green tea is beneficial for your kidneys following ischemia, a restriction in the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients following a stroke or blood clots. Your kidneys become injured and inflamed when the blood supply returns to the tissues in the organ after an ischemia. Scientists at Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, found that green tea reduces kidney injury from ischemia, according to research published in the "Archives of Pharmacal Research" in November 2007.

Diabetic Nephropathy

Green tea improves kidney function in people with diabetes. Kidney disease is a common complication among diabetics. If left untreated, impaired kidney function can progress to kidney failure, which requires hemodialysis or an organ transplant. Scientists at Kuwait University found that consumption of green tea prevents the accumulation of glycogen in the kidneys and improves kidney function, according to research published in "The British Journal of Nutrition" in September 2008. Glycogen is a storage substance that contains numerous molecules of glucose, the sugar your cells metabolize for energy. The scientists conclude that green tea can be a beneficial treatment for diabetic nephropathy.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a painful and often recurring condition. Calcium oxalate is a substance in food that produces kidney stones. Drinking green tea can help you prevent the development of kidney stones made from calcium oxalate crystals. Scientists at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, found that green tea is effective in inhibiting the growth of calcium oxalate into stable crystals, which form kidney stones, according to research published in "CrystEngComm" in 2010. The results demonstrate that increased consumption of green tea changes the shapes of the crystals, decreasing the potential growth of the crystals into kidney stones.

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