Potential Side Effects of Matcha

Things you should know about Matcha and why moderation is always the best approach

Matcha is becoming increasingly popular in cafés around the world. It is perceived to boost energy levels and attention but with calming influence as well. But like everything else, it is important to remember that even Matcha may have side effects when consumed in large quantities. Some of the possible side effects are:

May make you feel jittery and nervous
Matcha contains high concentration of caffeine, like coffee or energy drinks. So, if you are sensitive to caffeine, it is best to avoid Matcha or drink in small quantities first. Caffeine can also cause anxiety or even cardiac arrythmia in some people. However, some studies have shown that caffeine in Matcha causes less anxiousness than caffeine in coffee, because Matcha also has an amino acid called l-theanine, which has a calming effect and hence neutralises the effect of caffeine. If caffeine in coffee makes you jittery, you may want to try small quantity of Matcha to see if you can still get the caffeine hit but without its side effects. However, caution is recommended.

May cause stomach discomfort
In addition to caffeine, Matcha powder also has fibre. These contents have laxative effects and may cause stomach discomfort. Compared to green tea, Matcha powder is dissolved in water or milk and consumed as a whole. So, the amount of caffeine and fibre consumed from Matcha is higher green tea. Matcha is typically consumed in very small quantities as tea, usually 2.0 – 2.5 mg (1/2 teaspoon) per cup. It is recommended to keep the intake limited.

May cause sleeping disorders
Once again, high concentration of caffeine in Matcha can interfere with sleeping patterns and may cause sleeping disorders.

May expose to harmful substances or contaminants
Matcha is consumed wholly as a powder dissolved in liquid (water, milk) and hence if poor quality Matcha is consumed, it may contain harmful substances, pesticides, or chemicals due to substandard cultivation practices. Always look for high quality and if possible organic Matcha to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. This risk exists for any tea or coffee consumption as well.

Warning for expectant or breast-feeding mothers
Pregnant or breast-feeding mothers are generally advised to limit caffeine intake. Because Matcha contains higher concentration of caffeine, it is best to limit the intake of Matcha or avoid it completely.

In addition to the above considerations, if you are on some medication or supplements, it is best to seek professional medical advice before starting or varying consumption of Matcha. Generally, Matcha should be consumed no more than 1-2 times a day and quantity of intake each time should be less than 1 teaspoon (2.0-2.5 mg).

If you are new to Matcha, please read our article that gives answers to Frequently asked Questions on Matcha.

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