Iced tea can lead to kidney stones


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

 It's a refreshing drink, with a kick most people perceive as healthy.

That's why Shantay Peloquin was surprised to end up in the ER with a kidney stone.

"It's more painful than child birth," Shantay said.

She was trying to quit diet sodas.

"Trying to break that habit and trying to drink more water, and so as I moved off of Diet Cokes, I moved onto tea."

Urologist S. Alexis Gordon says iced tea may have contributed to Shantay's kidney stone.

"The run of the mill, restaurant brand tea tends to have the higher oxalate. Some of the black teas have higher amounts, but there are some who have fewer," Gordon said.

Oxalate is the key chemical that can lead to kidney stones, which affect about ten percent of the population. Why just iced tea? Because it's cold, people tend drink more of it than hot tea.

The Tea Association of the USA, however, quotes a Harvard study that found just the opposite to be true. That study followed 81, 000 women for eight years and found for each eight ounce cup of tea consumed daily, the kidney stone risk appeared to lower by eight percent.

Doctor Gordon says it's more about the amount and the kind you drink. Green and chamomile teas have lower oxalate levels.

"As long as you enjoy your iced tea but you make up for it with water, it's all about dissolving of minerals."

Shantay has decided to quit iced tea altogether.

"That's what's causing my stones. I can absolutely go without it for the rest of my life."

Doctors say lemons, often served with iced tea, are high in citrates and can ward off kidney stones.

Spinach and chocolate also contain oxalates.