Some detox teas are harmless mixes of tea leaves no different than regular teas. But others contain additional ingredients that could harm your health. Such ingredients may include:
- powerful herbs, like senna
- high levels of caffeine
- illegal chemicals, like ephedra
The ingredients in detox teas are designed to give you energy. They may also send you rushing to the toilet frequently. Emptying your colon and bladder often may result in a small amount of weight loss.
But what you’re losing is mostly water — not toxins. This isn’t a safe and effective way to lose excess weight.
While these teas contain chemicals meant to “speed” you up (like ephedra) and be more active (a better way to lose weight), they can cause dangerous problems, like:
- heart attacks
Read on to learn more about the side effects of detox teas.
Senna is an herbal laxative supplement used to treat constipation. It’s usually safe for most people when used in moderation. Continuous use or taking senna and other laxatives in large quantities isn’t recommended.
Senna and other laxatives are often found in detox teas. They can cause severe diarrhea. Diarrhea can become dangerous if prolonged, as you may end up becoming extremely dehydrated.
Using laxatives over the long run can also disrupt your normal digestion. This can lead you to become reliant on laxatives in order to have normal bowel movements.
Abdominal discomfort, cramps, bloating, gas, and nausea
Detox teas commonly cause abdominal pain and discomfort. Cramps, bloating, gas, and nausea are also common while consuming detox teas.
The high levels of caffeine and laxative ingredients usually cause these symptoms, as they put stress on the digestive system.
Going to the bathroom more often means your body will contain less fluids and could become dehydrated. Dehydration can reduce the levels of electrolytes in your blood.
Electrolytes are important for your muscles to function. An electrolyte imbalance can trigger muscle spasms and an abnormal heart rhythm, both very serious issues.
Effects of too much caffeine intake
As mentioned, detox teas often contain high levels of caffeine. This can cause other negative side effects besides dehydration, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. These include:
- ringing in the ears
- fast heart rate and breathing rate
Too much caffeine can also cause severe sleep issues. Generally, consuming up to 400 milligrams of caffeine — the same amount in four or five cups of coffee — is considered safe for healthy people.
However, detox teas may contain much more caffeine than is recommended in a single day. This can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep.
Detox teas may contain herbs and other substances that can interact with certain prescription and over-the-counter medications you may be taking.
Diarrhea from the detox tea may also decrease the efficacy of your medication, as it rushes it through your system without being absorbed.
This is a common concern with hormonal birth control, which must be taken daily in order to be effective.
Other substances in detox teas, such as grapefruit, may magnify the effects of any medications you’re taking and cause serious side effects.