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CASE REPORT
Hypokalaemia and drinking green tea: a literature review and report of 2 cases
  1. Sebastian Jen Kin Chong1,
  2. Kerry Antoinette Howard2,
  3. Chloe Knox1
  1. 1Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  2. 2The Rosendale Surgery, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sebastian Jen Kin Chong, bsms3318{at}uni.bsms.ac.uk

Summary

We report the association between excessive consumption of green tea and hypokalaemia in an Oriental couple. Both patients were asymptomatic and the abnormal electrolyte level was only detected on routine blood tests. When they were advised to reduce the consumption of green tea, the abnormally low potassium level was reversed. We have not found such an association reported in the medical literature. The health benefits of green tea consumption are well publicised but the potential side-effects of overconsumption are less well known. We would like to report this association to alert clinicians about this potentially serious complication. This is especially relevant for those who are also taking prescribed medications that can lower potassium levels and/or sensitise patients to potential harm from hypokalaemia.

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