Does Green Tea Cause Heart Palpitations?

Pretty young woman with tea cup outdoors
Green tea has many uses, but it can cause some side effects. (Image: morrowlight/iStock/Getty Images)

You may drink green tea as a hot or cold beverage simply for the taste. You also may use green tea for health reasons. It has been promoted primarily for weight loss as both a beverage and as a supplement you take in pill form. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved green tea as a medicinal agent. Because of possible health issues, you should consult your physician before you use green tea.

Green Tea Benefits

Green tea, whether imbibed as a drink or swallowed as a supplemental pill, contains caffeine. This is the agent inside green tea that may help you to lose weight. It also may help focus your concentration and make you sharper and more alert. Just like coffee or soft drinks, green tea can serve as a “pick-me-up” when you become tired or need to have full alertness for a task.

Caffeine’s Effects

The caffeine in green tea stimulates your central nervous system, giving you a boost of energy. It also helps to suppress your appetite and make you more active. Caffeine also constricts the blood vessels in your body, particularly those in your head. This means caffeine may help to decrease the pain from migraine headaches.

Heart Palpitations

Caffeine’s stimulates your heart, especially when you first ingest it by taking green tea. It can make your heart rate speed up, a condition called tachycardia. This can make your heart feel like it is pounding in your chest, a condition also known as palpitations. Palpitations make you more aware of your heartbeat than you usually would be. They may even cause some angina or chest pain. Any change in your normal heart rate constitutes a potentially serious medical problem.

Other Side Effects

Because the caffeine in green tea can make you feel nervous or irritable, palpitations may exacerbate these side effects. When you start feeling your heart beating harder and faster than normal, it can make you feel more nervous or anxious. Green tea also can upset your stomach. The caffeine content can keep you awake at night, too, unless you only use green tea many hours prior to bedtime. Most of the side effects associated with green tea and its caffeine classify as non-serious and, in most cases, will go away on their own. If the palpitations or tachycardia continue, however, or worry you, you should seek your physician’s counsel as soon as possible.

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