Matcha green tea is a healthy beverage, often called a superfood, that’s packed with numerous health benefits, like potent antioxidants, increased energy levels, enhanced focus, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and increased metabolism and fat burning to help you lose weight. For most people, adding matcha to their lives is a very good idea.
But some assume something so healthy can't have any side effects or a limit to how much you can drink. That isn't entirely the case. There can be negative side effects if someone consumes too much in a given time or has other health risks, depending on the age and state of the person drinking it.
Drinking matcha is completely safe for the average person, when it’s consumed in normal amounts, typically once or twice a day. But the naturally high caffeine content found in this green tea makes consuming too much something to avoid. Being sensitive to caffeine can also cause a person problems.
Some of the more common negative side effects connected with high caffeine intake are:
- Upset stomach
Like coffee, matcha naturally contains a large amount of caffeine. Unlike coffee, matcha has a hidden superpower that counteracts that caffeine to some degree. L-Theanine, the amino acid in matcha responsible for that increased focus and calm feeling, makes caffeine not hit or drop off as hard as other caffeine sources. It allows caffeine to come on slower, last longer, and then ease off for a long-term energy boost without highs or lows. The chlorophyll and fiber in matcha also help regulate the caffeine absorption.
With some regulating factors built in, it still isn't a good idea to drink nothing but matcha all day. Excessive caffeine intake from any source, even one that doesn't hit as hard, can cause a temporarily irregular heartbeat, make anxiety worse for people who suffer from an anxiety disorder, and increase blood pressure in those who are already prone to have high blood pressure.
There have even been cases where drinking too much green tea caused herbal hepatotoxicity, better known as liver malfunction. The antioxidant compound catechins, which matcha is chock-full of, is good for you when taken in the proper dosage, but highly-concentrated doses can damage liver cells. There definitely can be too much of a good thing.
One to two cups a day is completely fine. Three isn't going crazy. More than that and you risk being unable to sleep. If you’re drinking multiple cups of matcha green tea and coffee a day or drinking matcha like it’s water, then you’re putting yourself at risk for some of those negative side effects mentioned above.
Many health professionals recommend that children, pregnant and nursing women, as well as people who have heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, and psychological disorders, should avoid consuming any kind of green tea or coffee.
Matcha green tea can also have negative interactions with certain medications, so it’s always best to ask your doctor before adding new things to your daily diet. Treat matcha wisely, like the powerful food/beverage it is, and you will be fine.
And look for matcha with more L-Theanine levels to counteract that caffeine.