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Can Green Tea Make You Poop?

Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is a popular drink around the world. Many people drink it for the many health benefits it has. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and has benefits like fat loss, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving brain function, and even protecting against cancer. Due to so many health benefits, green tea has become much more than just a beverage. The tea is rich in polyphenols, which are a type of natural compound that have many health benefits, including lowering inflammation in the body and helping fight against cancer.(1, 2, 3)

Green tea also contains a catechin known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Catechins are a type of natural antioxidant that not only helps prevent damage to your cells but also have many other health benefits for the body. These compounds help reduce the production of free radicals in the body, thus helping protect the molecules and cells from damage. These free radicals play a major role in causing many types of illnesses as well as speeding up the natural process of aging.(4, 5, 6)

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So what about green tea as a laxative? Can green tea really make you poop? Let’s take a look at what the evidence shows.

Can Green Tea Make You Poop?

While there is not much evidence available to show that green tea can make you poop or have a laxative effect, there are some studies that have shown that the digestive tract reacts favorably to green tea. Here are some studies that have found green tea to have a positive laxative effect.

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In 2016, an animal study looked at the effects of strictinin, which is a compound found in green tea. The authors of the study discovered that rats that were given strictinin had a higher laxative effect than rats that were not given the compound. The study found that strictinin increased the movement in the rat’s small intestine. This made the rats poop more.(7)

According to reports by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), green tea contains caffeine, and this caffeine has a laxative effect. However, if consumed in high quantities, it can even lead to diarrhea. The foundation recommended that drinking three cups of coffee or tea a day can worsen the symptoms further.(8)

Another reason behind why green tea serves as a laxative is because drinking more fluids, in any case, helps reduce constipation, softening the stool, making it easier to pass. Drinking more fluids like green tea can help soften the stools and make it easier to have a bowel movement.(9)

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These are just some evidence to show that green tea serves as a laxative and helps make you poop. However, there are no human studies to confirm this. On the other hand, though, the laxative effects of green tea are not known to be as potent as other tea like cascara and senna.

Should You Take Green Tea Supplements or Extracts?

In recent years, green tea supplements and extracts have become popular in the market. Manufacturers of these supplements have extracted some of the compounds found in green tea and packaged them into powder and supplement forms. These supplements often appeal more to people who don’t prefer drinking a lot of green tea throughout the day to benefit from the tea.

One of the most commonly found compounds in green tea extracts is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). As mentioned above, this is a type of catechin, which is a compound that has powerful antioxidant properties or inflammation-fighting properties. However, researchers have to date not found whether EGCG also has a laxative effect.(10, 11)

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Many people believe that the presence of caffeine in green tea is one of the main causes that make you poop. This is why it is important to read the ingredients in your green tea supplement carefully. Some supplements contain caffeine, while others tend to be caffeine-free. At the same time, the other consideration is that the extracts and supplements of green tea are not in fluid form, which might have an impact on their constipation-reducing effects.

What Are The Proven Benefits Of Green Tea?

Just because the laxative effects of green tea are not proven through human studies, researchers have found a lot of evidence on the other health benefits of green tea. People use green tea and its extracts for many purposes owing to its benefits. These include:(12)

  • Reducing the risk of certain types of cancer
  • Helping in weight loss
  • Boosting mental alertness and concentration
  • Protecting against heart disease and cancer
  • Reducing headache

So drinking green tea may help improve your health, but this does not mean that you stop following a doctor’s advice and stop taking medications in favor of green tea.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Drinking Green Tea?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, green tea is a safe beverage to have in moderation.(12) However, some of the rare side effects of having green tea may include:

  • It decreases the effects of beta-blocker nadolol(13)
  • It may cause liver disorders, which may cause stomach pain, dark urine, and even jaundice.(14)

It is also important to know that green tea contains caffeine. So if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may experience some side effects like:

  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Problems sleeping

Conclusion

Many people may find that they start having more frequent and easier bowel movements when they start drinking green tea. However, there is no research done through human studies that confirm that green tea has a laxative effect. Nevertheless, it has been found that drinking green tea makes most people poop more. If you are having a problem with constipation and regular bowel movements, you should consult your doctor to find out other options.

References:

  1. Chacko, S.M., Thambi, P.T., Kuttan, R. and Nishigaki, I., 2010. Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review. Chinese medicine, 5(1), pp.1-9.
  2. Cooper, R., Morré, D.J. and Morré, D.M., 2005. Medicinal benefits of green tea: Part I. Review of noncancer health benefits. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 11(3), pp.521-528.
  3. Reygaert, W.C., 2017. An update on the health benefits of green tea. Beverages, 3(1), p.6.
  4. Eng, Q.Y., Thanikachalam, P.V. and Ramamurthy, S., 2018. Molecular understanding of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 210, pp.296-310.
  5. Lu, Y.I., Guo, W.F. and Yang, X.Q., 2004. Fluoride content in tea and its relationship with tea quality. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52(14), pp.4472-4476.
  6. Hsu, S., 2005. Green tea and the skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 52(6), pp.1049-1059.
  7. Hsieh, S.K., Xu, J.R., Lin, N.H., Li, Y.C., Chen, G.H., Kuo, P.C., Chen, W.Y. and Tzen, J.T., 2016. Antibacterial and laxative activities of strictinin isolated from Pu’er tea (Camellia sinensis). journal of food and drug analysis, 24(4), pp.722-729.
  8. Anon, 2022. Common causes of chronic diarrhea. IFFGD. Available at: https://www.iffgd.org/lower-gi-disorders/diarrhea/common-causes.html [Accessed September 24, 2022].
  9. Anon, 2022. Common causes of chronic diarrhea. IFFGD. Available at: https://www.iffgd.org/lower-gi-disorders/diarrhea/common-causes.html [Accessed September 24, 2022].
  10. Du, G.J., Zhang, Z., Wen, X.D., Yu, C., Calway, T., Yuan, C.S. and Wang, C.Z., 2012. Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol in green tea. Nutrients, 4(11), pp.1679-1691.
  11. Vignes, M., Maurice, T., Lanté, F., Nedjar, M., Thethi, K., Guiramand, J. and Récasens, M., 2006. Anxiolytic properties of green tea polyphenol (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Brain research, 1110(1), pp.102-115.
  12. Anon, Green tea. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/green-tea [Accessed September 24, 2022].
  13. Frishman, W.H., 1981. Nadolol: a new β-adrenoceptor antagonist. New England Journal of Medicine, 305(12), pp.678-682.
  14. Jin, X., Zheng, R.H. and Li, Y.M., 2008. Green tea consumption and liver disease: a systematic review. Liver international, 28(7), pp.990-996.

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