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It's been a personal experience. I am at home now and take tea twice a day. For 2 months now I have been having acidity problems, which, my doctor told me, were the main reason I have been getting gags the whole day. I had quit taking tea ceterus paribus and have noticed that frequency of getting gags has drastically reduced. I am curious: can tea or any particular component of it cause acidity which eventually causes people to feel like retching?

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    Hi Jony and welcome to the site. Can you please explain what you mean by "gags"? Does that mean mild nausea, or are you actually gagging all day? I don't quite understand what you're trying to ask. Sep 15, 2015 at 21:03
  • gagging most part of the day actually. The feeling that you might vomit but you don't actually. It's pretty frustrating. Happens a lot of times in a day. I don't continuously gag but in discreet intervals spread over the whole day. Most frequently happens before dinner time when I am hungry. Sep 16, 2015 at 5:33
  • @anongoodnurse I see that it's very disappointing to see no answers here! Is the question that difficult? Not blaming you btw. Sep 18, 2015 at 9:10
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    Welcome to health SE :-). It is the strict policy on references that causes the delay. While it might take some time to find them, good and reliable references are well worth the trouble, since they can help you and other users of the website asses the value/accuracy of the answer. When it comes to health, this is very important. There are quite a few unanswered questions here (we are a new website with not that many users who can answer them) so it might take a few days to get an answer. Patience is the key :-).
    – Lucky
    Sep 18, 2015 at 13:45
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    This took a bit more than "a few days" - sorry for the delay and thank you for your patience.
    – Lucky
    Sep 27, 2015 at 22:48

2 Answers 2

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I haven't found any studies that would directly link retching and the consumption of tea. However, this would be a rather narrow research, so the lack of it is no surprise. Your doctor told you that your acidity problems may be caused by tea and that this might be causing your gags, and they are correct.

It has been proven that consumption of tea is directly related to increased secretion of gastric acid (1):

The gastric acid response to a 200-ml cup of tea was measured [...] Tea resulted in an acid secretory response which was almost equal to that after a maximal dose (0.04 mg/kg) of histamine. The effect of tea was mainly due to its local chemical action on gastric mucosa. Tea without milk and sugar resulted in an acid response higher than that evoked by a maximal dose of histamine. The concentration of tea brew that had the greatest effect on gastric acid secretion was 15 g/200 ml, which was three times as much as that in a palatable cup of tea. Tea is a potent stimulant of gastric acid, and this can be reduced by adding milk and sugar.

This effect of tea is most likely caused by caffeine, which was proven to increase gastric secretion in animals and humans. (2, 3)

Therefore tea can have some adverse effects (4):

Green tea and green tea extracts contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, or frequent urination in some people.


*Some sources state that increased gastric secretion and possible irritation of gastric mucosa are caused by chlorogenic acid and tannins, which is why these effects are reduced by addition of milk. Other sources, however, state that both chlorogenic acid and tannins reduce gastric secretion.


References:

  1. Effect of tea on gastric acid secretion

  2. Gastric acid secretion and lower-esophageal-sphincter pressure in response to coffee and caffeine

  3. Caffeine and gastric secretion

  4. Green tea

  5. ABC clinical Guide - Clinical overview: Tea, Black/Green

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    Thank you so much for the information and all the helpful links and for putting all the efforts to collect and compile all that here. :) Sep 28, 2015 at 9:17
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    @JonyAgarwal - We are lucky to have him here! :) Sep 30, 2015 at 3:01
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I battled the exact same issue you had. It was coughing fits and gagging that went on for almost a year.

I tried the many different things ranging from sleeping more, to gargling salt water in case it was bacterial or related to tonsil stones, to allergy medications in case it was post-nasal drip, reducing stomach acidity at night and inclining my bed in case it was acid-reflux. These only had a minor impact on the problem.

Certain things triggered the gagging instances including dry air, the a/c turning on (more dust), cream, coffee, and ice cream, but even removing all of these triggers didn't resolve the underlying cause.

I've been a heavy drinker of tea for at least the last 12 years if not longer. Black and Jasmine green are my favorites. I finally relented and tried switching off of tea for awhile. The problems cleared up.

In my research, there were two things that have the potential to cause this:

  1. Tannins
  2. Flouride that tea plants easily absorb from their soil.

There doesn't seem to be any research conclusively connecting either of these directly to gagging. Excessive flouride would seem to have a different health symptoms that should have shown up, so my current best bet is Tannins.

Since this discovery, I have done more experimentation to try and prove it out. Sure enough, Black tea, with the highest tannins levels, triggers gagging the easiest the next few days. Green tea isn't as bad (lower tannins). I've also started cold-brewing my black tea as that also reduces tannins levels significantly while still enjoying my tea. I've also started drinking more coffee since tannin levels in coffee are about 10x less. While coffee with cream triggered issues before I switched off hot black tea, it no longer causes me any issue. Everything I've done points to tannins. Hopefully scientists will do some more research on them to determine why they might cause this.

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    Hi and welcome. While your personal experience is relevant to the question, here on the Medical Sciences stack we need answers to reference reputable sources or research.
    – Chris
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:25
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    To add to what Chris has already said, answers on Medical Sciences are expected to include references to back up claims and information in them. Please edit your answer to include your sources. Here is a list of reliable sources to get you started in case you need them.
    – Ian Campbell
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:30
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    @IanCampbell Thank you for the meta link. Yes, I'm gathering an understanding of this stack exchange. Unfortunately, this is a topic that simply has no research on it (tea <-> gagging) because it's appears to be a small niche. I've done the research on this topic and no one appears to have made the connection besides this OP (and now me). Or if they have, they haven't published it anywhere.
    – horta
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:35
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    @Chris As you said this single data point is relevant to the question and is more data than all of the research on this topic (tea <-> gagging) appears have. Some data is better than no data which is why I posted. I understand that if there was some research on this besides on myself, I would have referenced it.
    – horta
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:42
  • @horta I know you would have. Quite correctly you have included in your answer that there is no research in this area.
    – Chris
    Sep 1, 2023 at 18:46

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