Chest pain after drinking tea? Can tea relieve heartburn?

Tags , ,

The different types of tea

Tea leaves

Pour some hot water on dried leaves, wait for a few minutes and you have your cup of tea. People have been using this simple process and drinking tea for thousands of years.

During these years people found out many ways to make different types of teas. These are the most common ones:

  • black tea
  • green tea
  • white tea
  • oolong tea
  • herbal tea
  • rooibos tea

Even these types have many varieties.

Tea leaves can be processed in multiple ways, like with or without fermentation and oxidation.

We can make tea tastier by adding sugar, honey, lemon, milk.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of tea types to choose from, and each can affect our bodies differently.

Can tea cause chest pain?

Because there is a wide variety of tea types and our bodies react differently to the same foods and drinks, there is no definitive yes or no answer to this question.

There are a few different ways tea can cause chest pain:

  1. Drinking very hot tea can cause a so-called “reversible thermal injury” to the esophagus and chest pain might be a symptom of this.
  2. Drinking excessive amounts of teas that contain caffeine might cause heart problems, like irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or angina.
  3. Acidic or caffeinated teas might cause acid reflux. Chest pain or heartburn is a common symptom of this.

However, this study – which is a meta-analysis of 30 other studies – found no association between tea consumption and acid reflux.

To make it more confusing: the study found that drinking tea may increase the risk of chest pain in East Asia and decrease in Middle Asia. The conclusion, of course, is that further studies are required.

Probably where you live has little impact on whether tea causes heartburn or not, but the type of tea you drink might have a more significant effect.

Black tea and chest pain

Black tea has many health benefits, but it contains 2% to 4% caffeine, so drinking too much (5+ cups a day) might cause heart problems.

Drinking small, moderate amounts of black tea is probably safe for your heart, especially if your heart is healthy. This study found no significant effects of black tea on cardiovascular biomarkers.

While black tea is likely safe for your heart, it can still cause chest pain for people prone to acid reflux. This is because black tea is somewhat acidic, and its caffeine content helps to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

A relaxed LES cannot stop your digestion acids from flowing back up into the esophagus, causing you heartburn, chest pain, throat pain, or coughing.

Green tea and chest pain

Green tea is another popular tea type. It has many health benefits, but, just like black tee, it contains some caffeine, although in smaller quantities.

Green tea is unlikely to cause heart irregularities if you have a healthy heart and don’t drink too much in a short period of time.

However, this might not be the case for your stomach. The effects on the LES is similar to black tea, albeit green tea is less acidic and contain less caffeine, so symptoms are somewhat less likely to occur.

This study mentions green tea as one of the factors associated with acid reflux, so it might not be ideal for people with a history of stomach disorders or acid reflux.

White, oolong and rooibos teas

All of these types should be well tolerated by the body and are unlikely to cause unwanted side effects.

However, all of these teas are somewhat acidic, so they might cause symptoms like chest pain, heartburn, etc. to people with acid reflux.

Final thoughts

Many people like to make their tea tastier by adding some sugar, milk, or lemon. It is quite possible that symptoms are not caused by the tea itself, but by these ingredients. Especially sugar and lemon tend to cause chest pain for those who have acid reflux.

When drinking in moderation, tea consumption is unlikely to cause stomach or chest problems.

Unless you have heart problems or serious acid reflux, it is usually safe to try a cup of tea and see if it causes any problems for you.