Drinking Tea Ups Arthritis Risk

An interesting study out out of the US has found that women who drink tea have an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.  The study, which looked at data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study database, examined the effects of coffee and tea consumption on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Despite both positive and negative connections between coffee drinking and other diseases, neither decaf nor regular coffee had any impact on a woman’s risk of developing either RA or SLE.

Drinking tea, on the other hand, was linked to a increased risk of developing RA, and drinking more tea upped the risk even further (≥4 cups of tea per day vs no tea: HR 1.78 (95%CI 0.83-3.82)).  Of course, researchers caution that the study does not prove that drinking tea directly causes rheumatoid arthritis.  At this point we have no idea how tea consumption and RA are actually connected, but it does provide an interesting area for further research.

Like many other studies, while the data is interesting and kind of surprising, there are still many unanswered questions.  You probably don’t need to run out and rid your cupboards of tea just yet.



  • Walitt B et al.  Coffee and tea consumption and method of coffee preparation in relation to risk of rheumatoid arthrisits and systemic lups erythematosus in potmenopausal women.  Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism 2010.


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