Cheap tea bags contain high levels of fluoride and could result in tooth and bone disease, states study published in the Food Research International journal.
The study conducted by the University of Derby and the former Health Protection Agency compared the fluoride levels of economy black tea blends from some supermarkets in the United Kingdom with that in branded tea blends. The fluoride levels were estimated in the dry tea as well as in tea infusions brewed in boiling water for two minutes.
AdvertisementThe study found that economy range-tea bags contain an average of six mg per liter of fluoride. The US National Academy of Sciences on the other hand recommends a maximum of 4 mg per day of fluoride. Branded tea blends were found to contain an average of 3.3 mg per liter, whereas very pure blends had an average of 0.7 mg per liter.
Tea Fluoride Content
According to the researchers, the tea plant tends to accumulate fluoride from the soil. The economy teas are often made from mature tea leaves, which have high fluoride content. The branded teas, on the other hand, are made from the newer leaves and buds, which have less fluoride content.
Fluorosis of Teeth and Bones
Fluoride is known as a double-edged sword. While some amount of fluoride is necessary for the proper development of bone and prevention of tooth decay, high levels result in a condition called fluorosis. This condition stains teeth initially, and later results in mottling of teeth enamel. The patient also complains of pain in bones and joints, and is at an increased risk of suffering from fractures.
The risk of complications due to the high fluoride content of tea is mainly to those people who drink four or more cups of tea a day. The high fluoride content could also be important in those places where people commonly suffer from fluorosis, due to high content of fluoride in drinking water. The researchers feel that it would help if the tea manufacturers also mention the fluoride content on their products.
Again, the results of the study do not imply that one has to drink only the costliest brands of tea. If you would prefer to go in for the economy brand, all that you would have to do is limit your tea intake.