Although green tea is known for its high antioxidant value, it can be harmful to the health. Well, this is true for those who are allergic to tannin, a type of polyphenol, found in green tea. Simply put, people with tannin allergy will be advised to avoid beverages and foods that contain tannin or tannic acid―a commercial compound akin to that of polyphenol tannin. So, although tannins display antioxidant activity, they can damage the health of people with tannin allergy.
Did You Know?The astringent taste of tea, red wine, and even fruits like apples and pomegranates is due to the presence of tannin.
The severity of symptoms will vary, depending on the sensitivity of the person to substances belonging to the class of tannins. For instance, a person who is hypersensitive to tannin is at an increased risk of fatal immune response. These and further such symptoms are discussed below:
A mild allergic reaction to tannin or its compounds is not a cause for concern, and medical treatment isn't necessary. So, when drinking coffee or tea that contains tannic acid, mild allergy symptoms can manifest in the form of manageable headaches, anxiety, and a jittery feeling―the person feels dizzy, giddy, or nervous and jumpy. Thus, a tannin reaction can give a 'jittery ride' that can be unsettling.
People who ignore mild allergic reaction, and continue to have tannin-based products may eventually get a moderate reaction that triggers severe headaches that may include migraines and cluster headaches, which may last for more than a day. In some cases, the tannin reaction triggers nausea, bowel dysfunction (diarrhea), and upset stomach that causes abdominal pain, indigestion, and belching. Hay fever like symptoms that include runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes may also occur immediately after exposure to allergy-causing tannins.
There have been instances wherein people who are moderately allergic to tannin didn't experience headaches but suffered from dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Hot flashes, a feeling of the heart pounding, has also been reported after taking tannin-based products.
Severe allergic reaction from tannin exposure, though occurs rarely, can be life-threatening. Also referred to as anaphylactic-like reaction, it occurs quickly within seconds after coming in contact with the allergen. Hypersensitivity to tannin can trigger a massive immune response that can be life-threatening within minutes. Hence, emergency medical attention is necessary to resolve this fatal immune response.
This adverse reaction from tannin exposure can narrow the airways and trigger serious breathing problems. The airway obstruction causes tightness in the throat, causing inability to speak properly. Apart from breathing problems, the lips, tongue and the face may suddenly swell. All this occurs in a matter of seconds, and can have disastrous consequences if treatment is delayed.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.