Tea has benefits far and wide. Containing powerful antioxidants, many claim it is the cure to a plethora of ailments; however, all good things must have their limitations. Tea is no exception. And although its possession of minerals is no surprise, what may surprise you is that one of these is Aluminum (Al).
Although the FDA has classified Al has G.R.A.S. (Generally Regarded As Safe), it is by no means “good” for you. Many question the validity of the FDA’s claims in regard to Al, with good reason too. When levels of Al are elevated in the body, toxicity sets in that can lead to encephalopathy, osteomalacia or aplastic bone disease, proximal myopathy, increased risk of infection, increased left ventricular mass and decreased myocardial function microcytic anemia with very high levels, sudden death (HCBI). The most dangerous and common symptom is the accumulation of plaque in the brain. This plaque is insoluble and its accumulation has been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s (Blaylock Wellness Report, Vol. 1 Issue 4). Aluminum levels (on average) are 1420 micrograms/g in of oolong tea, 576 micrograms/g in black tea, and 520 micrograms/g in green tea (Tottori Women’s College, Kurayoshi, Japan).
Don’t let this stop your daily enjoyment of tea though. Under normal conditions (normal renal function), the Al should pass through you body and you should be unaffected. Al is only absorbed by the body, it seems, when higher levels of acidity are present (Clinical Chemistry).
The pH of tea is around 6.5, which is relatively neutral, neither a base or an acid. So you should be fine right? Assuming you don’t add that lemon to your iced tea. Lemons have a pH of around 2, which is highly acidic. Ergo, tea with lemon has a higher acidity leaving room for that nasty aluminum to remain in your blood and wreak havoc on your body.
Grant it, you can probably still add lemon to your tea and not suffer any of the side affects of Al toxicity. So feel free to enjoy your tea with that lovely citrus we all love. But, it sure does make you wonder. What are you really drinking?