Dr. Umbar Ghaffar’s iced tea diagnosis may send ripples of panic in the deep south of the United States considering how a 56-year-old man in Arkansas suffered kidney failure due to consumption of the favored beverage. Doctors determined his high levels of oxalate consumption had clogged and inflamed his kidneys to the point that he will be stuck on dialysis for the rest of his life. But how concerned should the average Southerner be about drinking iced tea?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, there are actually quite a bit of health benefits to drinking iced tea — at least, in moderation.
And that key word is the primary issue in regards to Dr. Umbar Ghaffar’s iced tea diagnosis that was published in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“A 56-year-old man presented to the hospital in May 2014 with weakness, fatigue, body aches, and an elevated serum creatinine level…. Owing to the rapidly progressive nature of the patient’s renal failure yet normal kidney size on ultrasonography, a renal biopsy was performed, which showed many oxalate crystals, interstitial inflammation with eosinophils, and interstitial edema consistent with a diagnosis of oxalate nephropathy,” Dr. Ghaffar explained. “We speculate that oxalate nephropathy may be an under-recognized cause of renal failure. In cases of unexplained renal failure in which proteinuria is absent and abundant oxalate crystals are present in urine sediment, a thorough dietary history should be obtained, because the kidney dysfunction could be a manifestation of oxalate nephropathy from an oxalate-rich diet. The case presented here was almost certainly due to excessive consumption of iced tea.”
When Dr. Fahd Syed, of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, and Dr. Ghaffar, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, published their diagnosis they noted that their patient did not have a personal history of kidney stones or a family history of kidney disease. The Arkansas man did not have gastric surgery, ethylene glycol poisoning, or any other major symptoms that would indicate why his kidney failure occurred.
The major reason that Dr. Umbar Ghaffar’s iced tea diagnosis was made because the patient said he consumed sixteen, eight-ounce glasses of iced tea daily. This meant that the patient’s daily intake of oxalate was more than 1,500 milligrams per day. To put this into perspective, the average American consumes about 152 to 511 milligrams per day, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends less than 40 to 50 milligrams.
So how worried should Southerners be about drinking their iced tea? In general, all types of black tea contain about 50 to 100 milligrams of oxalate per 100 milliliters of fluid. Oxalate is also found in other foods like star fruit, rhubarb, peanuts, spinach, rhubarb, nuts, wheat bran, and chocolate. The key to good health is eating and drinking in moderation. While Dr. Umbar Ghaffar’s iced tea diagnosis sounds scary, it just proves that there really can be too much of a good thing.