Tea and joint pain?

Sometimes when I over-indulge in tea I get pain in my joints and tendons, particularly black tea. I am concerned about the long-term effects on my joint and bone health. I understand green tea is anti-inflammatory so it’s good for arthritis. But on the other hand, I have read black tea increases risk of arthritis. Also I know caffeine leaches some calcium from the bones, so I try to get plenty of calcium in my diet. Finally, there is the slight concern about fluoride, which can cause joint pain through skeletal fluorosis, although I believe this is somewhat rare. I do try to drink good quality loose leaf teas to reduce the fluoride exposure.

Is the temporary pains and aches I feel from too much tea just exhaustion from the caffeine?

27 Replies
Serenity said

Hi, I’m so sorry something you enjoy gives you a negative consequence. I have not heard of this connection, but I know everyone is very unique in his or her response to food and drink, and so forth. I would, however, suggest you consider seeing a rheumatologist. I have a form of arthritis that is autoimmune based, rather than due to aging. Best wishes for best health.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Lala said

I have heard the same thing regarding green tea acting as a type of anti-inflammatory.

Also I don’t think you have to be worried about skeletal fluorosis unless you are drinking extremes amounts of tea, up to hundreds of cups a day. I think a bigger fluoride concern would not be from the tea but from the water you use to make it with.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Bonnie said

Green tea usually has more caffeine than black tea. Fluoride can be reduced by only using spring or filtered water (which I always do for the best flavor anyway). The l-theanine content of green tea might be a bit higher than black tea but I prefer the lower caffeine (I like puerh which is good for the stomach and blood pressure). I have fibromyalgia and migraines. Tea reduces pain for me by calming the pain messages in my brain.
Another thing I avoid is artificially flavored tea’s. Rooibos and licorice in tea make me sick because I have nightshade allergy (they are legumes). Always drink the best tea you can get from good sources. You don’t want tea that has been sitting in a warehouse for a year.

Login or sign up to post a message.

KatNa said

I have heard that tea is a good natural anti inflammatory, but as already said everyone is different. Something you might consider is your sodium intake which if high could be helping to retain more fluid in your body and in your joints, hence making them more achy.

Maybe reduce your sodium intake on days you know you might be drinking more tea, and see if you notice a difference.
I have psoriatic arthritis and I’m extremely sodium sensitive, reducing salt has helped me with pain even when I drink more beverages.

Bonnie said

I don’t use salt either but drink lots of liquids which is beneficial to reducing water weight (I know sounds wrong but it’s really true).

Login or sign up to post a message.

This happens to me too sometimes and I hate it! It usually only happens after I have had several large pots a day, in which case I know I should probably not have had that much tea to start with. I have no idea what causes it, but I would be very interested to find out why it happens! It never happens when I drink tea at school but happens all the time at home. I have noticed that the tea at at home is harder than the water at school, and that may be a large reason why!

Bonnie said

Really worthwhile to have a filter bottle. I bought one at Best Buy that has a fat filter that works quickly and looks nice. Comes in colors and wasn’t expensive. Even though the water here is very good, I can taste things other people can’t due to a side effect of fibromyalgia.

Thanks Bonnie! I will have to try that out!

Login or sign up to post a message.

If I over-indulge in black tea, like a gallon and a half of iced tea in a day (yeah, it happens sometimes), there’s a chance that my gout will flare up a bit. I’ve read that there is some connection between gout flare-up and high-volume tea consumption. I don’t think it’s a stretch to incorporate other forms of arthritis.

Login or sign up to post a message.

I now realize that the issue is inflammation. I went to an acupuncturist about this and they gave me a list of inflammation causing and reducing foods. The first thing to avoid was dairy. I cut it out for a few days and the arthritic symptoms got much better! But I can’t live without dairy (even though I am now on exclusively goat milk) so I ended up having some again, and the pain returned to some degree. So while excessive tea can aggravate the inflammation I think dairy is a bigger problem for me.

OMGsrsly said

Dairy is a tough one, for sure. There’s almond and coconut milk creamers, yogurts and ice creams that are pretty good if you can do nuts. I don’t care for soy as much due to other health concerns, and rice stuff can be OK depending on the brand. :) I wish you the best in finding your favourite substitutes. It’s a bit of trial and error, but it can be done.

Login or sign up to post a message.

I just wanted to answer this even though it is 3 years old. You are not alone! I have discovered this same issue, as well as a few others I have found online.

I also found this interesting article linking tea drinking with increased risk of rheumatoid-arthritis that was a study done by Georgetown University.


I am currently investigating. Three things changed all at once for me.

A. I started using an electric tea kettle(which has plastic that touches the water).

B. I newly put in a Reverse Osmosis system for mineral free water for my Ultrasonic humidifiers, and have been drinking that water exclusively.

C.I started drinking tea made exclusively with loose tea.

Note: I at first thought it could be the pestides known to be in the tea, so I started pre-washing my tea, and only ordering organic. I found that if I pre-washed my tea, the slight pain in my knuckles would be reduced.

Just yesterday, I added in a 6th stage to the RO filter, which is an alkaline/re-mineralizing filter.

I have started to microwave my water for tea in a ceramic mug again.

I had noticed a reduction in symptoms, and thought I had it diagnosed to the plastics in the water.

I was also getting symptoms of sore patches on my skin, particularly my elbow.

I personally am in pretty good shape, with strength training with free weights twice per week, I eat no bread, and have a fairly lean body fat. Still, I have had gout for quite some time, and have type two diabetes.

I do eat a lot of fat, and because of the above I mention, I wonder if it could also be related to the amount of fat I consume in my diet in addition to the tea drinking.

I noticed today, that after feeling better, I had 3 cups of tea within about 1.5 hours and felt some symptoms again, although not as bad, so I am wondering if it is how quickly servings of tea coincide?

I of course will continue to investigate and try to pin down the issue, and come back when I pinpoint the issue!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Bonnie said

I can’t comment on arthritis although my mother had it for 35 years.
I have fibromyalgia and get relief from drinking full leaf natural and organic tea.
Filtered water, non-toxic containers for brewing and storage are important as well as everything else I eat and drink, the whole of my inner and outer environment.
Besides fibromyalgia I have atypical migraines and food allergies.
Tea provides l-theanine to reduce stress and nips the frequency of pain cycling.
I don’t take any drugs for fibromyalgia and sleep better than anyone at my support group.
In fact, I’m the healthiest one of the lot at 67!
Some people are bothered by caffeine and can benefit just as well by drinking less frequently. Some people are also more sensitive to certain types of tea (my granddaughter has an allergic reaction to black tea and a friend gets diarrhea from puerh). I’m more of a black tea and puerh person, sometimes oolong.
Know your tea vendor. I know where my tea comes from and can talk to the provider at any time. I build up a friendship that has lasted years. One relationship is local and I meet with the management to drink and discuss tea often.
The more you know, the better off you are!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Not to beat this to death, but I also found this article that explains that some people have an allergy to tea which might explain the inflammation the OP mentioned.


For myself, I have noticed I can drink as much tea made from Lipton tea bags as I want, without much side effects. Perhaps the good stuff has more oils and such, that can cause an allergic reaction?

AllanK said

I guess you can be allergic to just about anything.

Rosali Tea said

Wow – that’s really interesting. Everything in moderation, I suppose!

Login or sign up to post a message.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.